NADA House 2023


Installation view: Maskull Lasserre presented by Arsenal Contemporary

Maskull Lasserre’s “Third Octave” consists of two upright pianos joined together by a carving of an octopus formed at their inner edges, creating one inseparable whole. The octopus emerges from the pianos’ inner structures, at once incarnate and a specter of the instruments' wooden substance.

For Lasserre, sculpture is a unique medium in that in involves a form of physical necessity that enables the materialization of abstract thought. This combinative language of sculpture is able to describe a world just beyond familiar articulation, giving form to experiences that both challenge and creatively expand everyday understanding. Beyond material and metaphor, Lasserre also seeks to imbue his sculptures with an ineffable quality—a presence that holds its own beyond the hand of the artist.

In “Third Octave,” a linguistic link connecting the piano and the octopus is highlighted. A piano keyboard has just over seven octaves (intervals of eight notes) between pitches and the word ‘octopus’ stems from the same root, the Latin octavus or “eighths,” referring to the number of its limbs. These linguistic origins point to a conceptual association: both instrument and organism possess functions that have evolved and become more sophisticated over time. In the eight tentacles of the octopus resides an echo of the musical octave, the capacity to camouflage itself on the ocean floor much like a note becomes one with the song it belongs to. The quality of time, so integral to the sculpture, is also expressed through the two pianos. They not only have their own material histories, but are also artifacts documenting the people who played them and lived with them. The medium of sculpture is able to capture time as well as reveal it; Third Octave simultaneously discloses biological, musical, and artistic processes in one harmonious form.



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