In the early 1990s, Gavin Bryars was challenged by the visual artist Juan Muñoz to collaborate in a series of radio programmes.
The idea of creating a work with a sculptor for a sound-based medium gave rise to stimulating conversations about the invisibility of the project and the potentialities of the listeners’ imagination. They created ten programmes, each lasting five minutes, in which they described different ways of manipulating playing cards, with Muñoz narrating excerpts from the book The Expert at the Card Table – a guide for magicians and conmen – while Bryars played a meandering sound track that embraced the words, silences and technical instructions of the Spanish artist’s voice in a sensuous fashion, creating, in his own description, an “imaginary space”.
Aimed at its own nocturnal and intimate radio audience, A Man in a Room, Gambling ended up being turned into a record in 1997 and was played at a small handful of concerts. We will be receiving one of its rare and complete live performances, while the recording will also be heard in our galleries during the course of The Invisible Exhibition.
Luís Pacheco Cunha
Pedro Manuel Gonçalves Oliveira