Disarmat Lisson Gallery is a solo exhibition by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes, comprising mixed-media works and a live musical performance relating to the artist’s ambitious international project in which illegal firearms were used to fabricate musical instruments.
Pedro Reyes’ work is a socio-political critique on contemporary society and our responsibility towards it. His projects are catalysts for communal and psychological transformation, triggering group interaction and creativity. The exhibition at Lisson Gallery includes musical instruments created from firearms, including revolvers, shot-guns and machine-guns, which were crushed by tanks and steamrollers to render them useless. These were offered to the artist by the Mexican government following their confiscation and subsequent public destruction in the city of Ciudad Juarez.
From the 6,700 destroyed weapons he received from the Mexican Secretary of Defense, Reyes created two groups of instruments which will be exhibited together for the first time at Lisson Gallery. The first, a series titled Imagine, is an orchestra of fifty instruments, from flutes to string and percussion instruments, designed to be played live. The second, Disarm, is a never-before-exhibited installation of mechanical musical instruments, which can either be automated or played live by an individual operator using a laptop computer and midi keyboard.
Reyes has in turn collaborated with producer and improvisational musician John Coxon (Spring Heel Jack, Spiritualized, About Group, Treader) to compose music and produce a record using instruments from the Imagine series. The result is a very limited edition vinyl LP featuring Coxon performing alongside six musicians well known on the improvisational scene. Copies will be displayed at the gallery throughout the duration of the show.
A series of collage paintings, Machine Music, presents a utopian vision of a world in which heavy artillery has been converted into instruments of “sonic warfare”, with soldiers fighting in the field with musical instruments as their weapons.
On the opening night of the exhibition the musicians will perform the album in its entirety live at Lisson Gallery. The LP includes a publication that documents the various steps of this expansive project. Copies will be displayed at the gallery throughout the duration of the show.