Poul GernesPenultimate Press
PP 007 LP
Single-Sided Long Playing Record
Penultimate Press presents the only known recordings by Danish artist Poul Gernes. Gernes only ever recorded just under 20 minutes of music; his entire musical production is therefore on this LP. The recording was made on a Tandberg recorder at Gernes's house in the south of Sweden in 1969 and features Gernes playing an old harmonium salvaged from a local primary school. The result is an informal quasi-drone work, which, along with the ambient sounds and domestic interference, comes across as a snapshot of the recording itself, a sonic Polaroid. The voice of a child, Gernes's daughter Ulrikka, is heard making small remarks and pointing out when the needle enters the red. This audial domestic background is too included as an incidental yet natural part of the work, as Gernes saw no limit between art and life.
Gernes (1925-1996) was one of the central figures in Danish art life during the latter half of the 20th century. His experimental art holds a firm place on an international level and as one of the founders of the legendary Den Eksperimenterende Kunstskole (The Experimenting Art School) he exerted considerable influence on a whole generation of artists who make up the Danish post-war avant garde. His wide-ranging body of work remains a source of inspiration for younger generations of artists in Denmark and abroad. This recording was initiated by John Hunov, who was the chairman of Ung Dansk Kunst (Young Danish Art), an association dedicated to the presentation and publication of many Danish artists of the period.
Gernes's major musical inspirations at the time were J.S. Bach, Terry Riley, and Gregorian chant. An alleged encounter with John Cage and close collaborations with, for instance, composer and Fluxus artist Henning Christiansen are likely to have encouraged the musical endeavor. During the 1960s Gernes also made a large number of happenings and performances, together with Per Kirkeby and Joseph Beuys. Originally issued in a miniscule edition on cassette in 1969, this was reissued in 1998 as a very limited edition CDR via John Nixon's Document Records, Australia. This is the first vinyl issue of these recordings.
A one-sided LP, it features a beautiful etching of a Gernes painting on the B-side and is packaged in a full-color sleeve retaining the nature of the recording itself. Also included is an insert with a list of Poul's hypothetical track titles. Limited to 400 copies.