Study for Sturtevant Voice (Cover Version)

  • sound installation, 2015

Elaine Sturtevant (1924–2014) gained popularity and recognition by creating her own renditions (“repetitions”) of works by her contemporaries (e.g. Warhol, Oldenburg), which led to her being called a pioneer of appropriation art. The artist raised questions about creativity, authorship and originality to a conceptual level.

The activation of repetition was intended to demonstrate the difference from a copy. While “reproducing” the works of other artists of her generation, she performed their gestures with her own body – proving that the creative process is not homogeneous and does not refer only to one person performing it. So what can the body do to distinguish repetition from difference?

Voice is an acquired trait. The first three years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, are the most important period for speech formation and language skills acquisition. Throughout life, environmental factors influence the sound of voice and how it is presented to the world.

With the help of professionals, I learned the Sturtevant voice – adapting it to my own. The intention was not only to imitate, but first of all to try to understand and reproduce its qualities. It goes against G. Paollini’s comment that “it seems that Sturtevant was the only artist who cannot be copied.” Traces of this process are preserved in the form of an audio recording.