The artistic practice of Martijn Tellinga (The Netherlands, 1974) occupies an intermedium between spatial installation, music composition, and durational performance. Drawn from a reduced formalist-seeming vocabulary, his works pose reflections on the boundaries and perception of compositional form —often inquiring into aleatoric modes of repetition, seriality and patterning—, and the expressive agency of an evolving materiality. His work is commonly shaped by means of some self-evolving system, a processual organisation or site-specific dynamic, which are aimed to function as a participatory, performative or social medium. Much of his work is score-based and includes a wide variety of conceptual actions and chance operations, probing the emergent field between intended and accidental occurrences. Propelled by such mechanisms, his works ultimately point at the authenticity and contingency of experience and affect through self-generative measures.
Coming from a music background, he gradually moved into the exhibition space, crafting a highly personal aesthetic which interprets and reworks musical components as the material, method or metaphor to address questions of place, self and environment within a contemporary expanded practice. Following such an approach, he produced instrumental performance works which perpetually reassemble a concert setting over extreme durations, sound installation work which investigates the part-scientific part-poetic practice of resonance tuning, and documentary pieces that expand upon methods of acoustic measurement and intervention style negotiations of site.
In more recent years, such works increasingly came to engage as well the visual, the choreographic and the textual. This has aligned his output with wider emerging propositions for a critical, post-media composition practice. His most current project ‘presence (Un) presence’ intends to pose and speak to considerations of musical mediality and agency beyond the audible. Applying principles of musical form, temporality and process, the work activates site-adaptive movement and choreographed action, video mediation and registrative technique, text, and the architectural setting. Combining these elements, the work stages the silent unfolding of a durational duet between two interpreters enacting 4 of our basic postures —standing, walking, sitting and lying down— as performative devices to sense, draw and recompose their shared space. Through such ‘speculative musical spaces’, an extended musicality is proposed, which explores how musical forms and ideas can travel and convey, but also evolve between different mediums and situations, and function as generative and experiential devices beyond sound and the concert setting.
For his work, he receives frequent support from funding institutions, Dutch and abroad. He presents worldwide, lectures and works in residence. He has articulated his artistic research through the development of courses around the spatial, processual and environmental modalities of sound informed practices. This led to visiting professorships at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China and ArtEZ Academy in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
He is one of the curator producers of the long running series DNK Amsterdam. With DNK Ensemble he interprets and re-enacts seminal pieces on the edge of experimental music, performance art and installation, from the likes of Cornelius Cardew, David Dunn, Dick Raaijmakers, Anthony McCall, David Tudor.
He currently lives between Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Dublin, Ireland.