This autumn Turner Contemporary presents the second installation in its Sunley Gallery as part of The Year of Mexico 2015 with Pedro Reyes’ Disarm (Mechanised), 2012. Disarm (Mechanized) is an ambitious installation, comprising of 8 mechanical musical instruments, resulting from Pedro Reyes’ international project in which illegal firearms were used to fabricate musical instruments. This is the first time Disarm (Mechanized) has been exhibited in a UK public gallery.
Musical instruments were 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 the artist received from the Mexican Secretary of Defence, Reyes created two groups of instruments including Disarm. This installation of mechanical musical instruments can either be automated or played live by an individual operator using a laptop computer or midi keyboard. Disarm (Mechanized) will be automated to play in Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery at intervals throughout the duration of the installation period.
For Pedro Reyes the process of transforming weapons into objects of positive utility was more than physical. “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place, the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for the lives lost.”
Pedro Reyes was born in Mexico City in 1972, where he lives and works. He has won international attention for large-scale projects that take existing social problems and imagine solutions for a happier world. Pedro Reyes was awarded a Medal for the Arts in January 2015, by the US State Department for his substantive commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach through the arts.
Pedro Reyes’s Disarm (Mechanized) will form part of Turner Contemporary’s autumn exhibition Risk (10 October 2015 – 17 January 2016), the first major UK exhibition to explore risk and art. Featuring more than 40 works from the mid-20th century to the present day, the exhibition brings together artworks and artistic practices that engage directly with risk. Following the presentation at Turner Contemporary, Disarm will tour to two European art festivals, CTM-Festival, Berlin (27 January 2016 – 28 February 2016) and TodaysArt – The Hague, Netherlands (September 2016).
Image: Pedro Reyes, Disarm (Mechanised), 2012. Recycled metal, dimensions variable. Installation comprising of 8 mechanized instruments © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.
Year of Mexico in the UK: Pedro Reyes: Disarm (Mechanized) – Turner Contemporary – 12 Sep 2015 to 10 Jan 2016