HARRY BERTOIA | UNTITLED (SPRAY) | C. 1979
Harry Bertoia was an Italian-born American artist, sound art sculptor, and modern furniture designer. In 1960, Harry Bertoia began the exploration of tonal sculptures. The “tonal”, or sounding sculpture, is the art that is most often associated with Harry Bertoia. Their sizes vary from a few inches all the way up to twenty feet tall. Many metals were used for the rods, the most common being beryllium copper known for its wide range of color variations and rich tones. Some rods are capped with cylinders or drops of metal, resembling cattails, which, by their weight, accentuate the swaying of the tonal rods and creating deep resonant tones. Harry and his brother Oreste both loved music and spent endless hours experimenting and finding new sounds to incorporate into Sonambient, the auditory and visual environment created by the tonals. Harry set up his remodeled barn in 1968-1969 to hold his special collection of 100+ tonal sculptures and act as a sound recording studio. He gave small concerts to lucky visitors and close friends.
One prevailing characteristic of sculpture is the interplay of void and matter. The void being of it is no exaggeration to say, the reality of sculpture is to be found in the void. Matter simply being an introductory device to the essential.