Lais Myrrha – Orchestra Rehearsal


In an auditorium housed in an old chapel – whose acoustics is said to be enviable – an orchestra meets to rehearse a symphony. Everything is filmed by a TV crew that intends to record the moment. Gradually, small misunderstandings, especially among musicians and the conductor who abuses his authority, set up a general malaise. Given the vanities, personal priorities, bureaucratic issues and ideological clashes, a scenario of uncontrollable disorder arises and develops on the rise: some make obscene graffiti on the wall, others play their instruments blaring, while many shout with fervor: “Orchestra, terror, death to the conductor. “The confusion is only interrupted by an absurd situation: after successive bangs, a piece of the venue is knocked down by a huge wrecking ball. The perplexity and the doldrums before the fact are overcome while the group tries to work together once more. 

As in these scenes from the movie “Orchestra Rehearsal” by Federico Fellini – of which this exhibition borrows its title – this present work of Lais Myrrha progresses form potential harmony to growing dissent. First an exhibition room is offered in a perfect state but completely empty. The situation of the space points to their occupation possibilities and, naturally, suspends its vocation. At a second moment, we hear noises common to the practices of construction. These are the same racket, commotion and bangs that spread every day throughout the city streets. Soon the uproar takes over of the environment and, although we do not see any corresponding image, it is inevitable to mentally build them in great detail. Every beat, every scrape, invokes the figure. At the top of this action, a wall is demolished. Bricks from the top start to fall, then blocks fall apart, and soon almost the whole structure is dismantled. A room in the house is revealed, entirely deboned, and at the back we see a pile of rubble. Once this ended, the men who were operating the destruction on the other room wall cross their wreckage and leave.

The curtain here is of masonry: to show what it veils it needs to be toppled, and once on the ground it does not present possibilities of reconstitution. When it breaks up, we immediately see the landscape of debris advance to the other side – aseptic and untouched. This movement makes one think in the hereafter insinuating itself on the current function of the place. The ruin left from the action promoted by the artist shows more than traces of something that already was; time as a whole is frozen: before, now and after captured in a single moment. In this transient state we see the body of play of a house that will soon no longer exist, and of which future use of the area that will be left in legacy we do not know, may only suppose.

The artist leads us to witness part of a voluntary operation that dismantles and builds. In this sense, by portraying the real it places us face to face with the relentless daily life and the countless questionings that follow its track. We wonder who operates it; to which wills it submits its flow; what must collapse and what deserves to rise.

The “Orchestra Rehearsal” of Lais employs its force to renegotiate the distinctions and boundaries between modes of discourse that tells our story, highlighting their constitutive tensions by taking in equal measure reality and artifice. As at the beginning and end of the film of Fellini, the artist presents us, without the need of visual rhetoric, the sounds of a common chaos; and when it ceases its activities it does not put a full stop, but it is concerned only in opening paths. Under the echoes of the verbs of progress it sheds light on the processes that lead our day-to-day, and leaves us enough to think: after here, what will be?

Fernando Ticoulat and Germano Dushá