10 Fingers 88 Teeth: Georgia Kotretsos

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10 Fingers 88 Teeth was a solo exhibition by the first participant in Boots’ International Artist-in-Residence program, Georgia Kotretsos. Georgia is also a founding Boots agent from Athens, Greece.

Piano as Symbol
by David Bonetti for the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
Perhaps no object better represents 19th-century romantic culture than the piano. Which explains why the beast with 88 “teeth” has been used by antiromantic artists as the object of their fury against all that 19th-century Europe represented.
Pianos have been attacked with clubs, dropped from windows, wrapped in felt so that their sound is muted and otherwise altered so that their sweet tones turn sour.
Athens, Greece-based artist Georgia Kotretsos, Boots’ recent artist in residence, acknowledges this history of hostility toward the piano through documentation and then aims to redeem its qualities through performance. Previously untrained on the piano, she put herself through an intensive four-month period of practice with the goal of playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, perhaps the quintessential piece of 19th century romanticism.
In the gallery’s second space, a Yamaha grand piano is connected to a tape of Kotretsos’ performance, which repeats continuously. Practice seems not to have gotten her very far. The simple first movement is identifiable but, by the finale, her playing falls apart. But the work is a moving attempt at cultural redemption, whatever her personal talents or lack thereof.
The installation includes videotapes of Fluxus artists attacking the piano as well as Chico Marx’s attempt to play one; collages by Kotretsos that show her thinking about the instrument; photographs of her daily practice; and the playerless piano.
Investigative installations of this sort form a common international language, but I have seen relatively few here in St. Louis. Here’s a good chance to catch up.

Piano as Symbol

by David Bonetti for the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch

Perhaps no object better represents 19th-century romantic culture than the piano. Which explains why the beast with 88 “teeth” has been used by antiromantic artists as the object of their fury against all that 19th-century Europe represented.

Pianos have been attacked with clubs, dropped from windows, wrapped in felt so that their sound is muted and otherwise altered so that their sweet tones turn sour.

Athens, Greece-based artist Georgia Kotretsos, Boots’ recent artist in residence, acknowledges this history of hostility toward the piano through documentation and then aims to redeem its qualities through performance. Previously untrained on the piano, she put herself through an intensive four-month period of practice with the goal of playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, perhaps the quintessential piece of 19th century romanticism.

In the gallery’s second space, a Yamaha grand piano is connected to a tape of Kotretsos’ performance, which repeats continuously. Practice seems not to have gotten her very far. The simple first movement is identifiable but, by the finale, her playing falls apart. But the work is a moving attempt at cultural redemption, whatever her personal talents or lack thereof.

The installation includes videotapes of Fluxus artists attacking the piano as well as Chico Marx’s attempt to play one; collages by Kotretsos that show her thinking about the instrument; photographs of her daily practice; and the playerless piano.

Investigative installations of this sort form a common international language, but I have seen relatively few here in St. Louis. Here’s a good chance to catch up.

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Georgia’s residency program received generous support from and was made possible by:

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