Known for what her website describes as “sensually driven” performances and installation, Tsabar incorporates more senses than just sight in her art. It’s as much about sound and sensation as it is about visuals.
For her Prospect piece, Tsabar is planning to create a site-specific installation in a public space in New Orleans that will incorporate a performance component, which will take place over the opening weekend of the exhibition in November.
“In these works, I commission pieces from different songwriters and work with local musicians,” said Tsabar. “I get very different songs back, depending on who’s writing them. But they all work together as a whole.”
Raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tsabar is currently living in New York City. Her past experience as a punk musician and bartender inform much of her work.
Pieces like “Barricade” and “Guitar Series” use unconventional microphone setups and custom musical instruments to interrogate and expand the concept of traditional performance and the relationships between performer and audience. Her “Gaffer Series” incorporates gaffer tape to create sculptural relief-like records of the performance setups that bands use on stage, while “Sweat” transforms arrangements of liquor bottles into charged tableaus reminiscent of barricades, I.V. drips and Molotov cocktails.
Tsabar describes the Prospect piece as a “live sculptural field” that takes as its central component a number of female musicians — guitar players, bass players, drummers and vocalists — standing atop individual amplifiers as they perform a series of songs which each share the same musical composition, scale (“usually C major,” said Tsabar), and beat structure.
“The amplifier is both a pedestal or plinth for the performer, as well as a sound source for what they’re performing,” said Tsabar.
As individual spectators move among and between the musicians, different aspects of the compositions become more prominent, making spectators integral to the structure of the piece itself.
“In their movements through the field, viewers take the songs apart and put them back together,” said Tsabar. “The viewer gets to choose their own experience, and each viewer will have a unique and specific experience within the field depending where they choose to walk.”
Tsabar was still in the process of vetting locations for the piece during her recent visit, mentioning public areas in the Warehouse District, the Central Business District and Mid-City as possible venues. (The eventual location will be announced in advance of Prospect.4’s public opening on Nov. 18.)
Tsabar will also be exhibiting pieces from her “Work on Felt” series as part of Prospect. 4 curator Trevor Schoonmaker’s main exhibition. Seemingly minimalistic in form, the pieces incorporate strings and microphones that will become “activated” by the viewer’s presence and participation.
But it’s her newest “Composition” piece which will present the most challenges between now and November — and which due to its public and participatory nature promises to be the most intriguing for viewers.
“The piece really responds to the architecture that it’s performed in, so that’s why it’s so important for me to find the specific site for it here,” said Tsabar. “New Orleans has such a rich and complicated history as far as public spaces are concerned, and I think it’s important for the piece to reflect that.”
Prospect. 4 New Orleans: The Lotus In Spite Of The Swamp opens citywide Nov. 18. For more information, visit prospectneworleans.org