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Samson Young

View of “Samson Young: A dark theme keeps me here, I’ll make a broken music,” 2016–17. Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. From left: Stanley, 2014; Nocturne, 2014. Photos: Simon Vogel.

OVER THE COURSE of Samson Young’s first solo exhibition in Europe, the world outside seemed to catch up. A somber realism pervaded the show, which was curated by Jasmina Merz and on view at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf this past winter, and it was only as its eleven-week run unfolded that its uncanny relevance to current events became clear. Spanning the full range of Young’s practice, the presentation included video work, suites of tenderly serious notation drawings, and a recorded sound piece broadcast in coordination with the ringing of the bells of a nearby church. Yet, in keeping with the artist’s long-standing interest in avant-garde chance operations and aleatoric music, the exhibition’s focal point was two live sound pieces, both performed continuously in the galleries save for a short lunch break each day.

The first, Canon, 2016, occupied the majority of the exhibition’s expansive

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