Time Piece Stommeln is the result of a precise observation of the location. Neuhaus spent the entire month of August 2007 in Stommeln, actually living in town with his family. During this time, he subjected the ambient noises of the market square to a meticulous acoustic analysis in order to distil – or “construct,” as he phrased it – a new sound from it that was “plausible” for the site, and that incorporated the noises of tractors along with those of the bells of the adjacent St. Martin church.
Neuhaus was born in Beaumont, Texas, studied percussion at the Manhattan School of Music in New York between 1957 and 1962. In the early 1960s, at the time one of the world’s finest percussionists, he performed in solo concerts, and toured with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. Yet starting in the mid-sixties, Neuhaus began to develop new art forms, using sound to literally “sound” a given space. He turned sound into a medium of contemporary art, and coined the term “sound installation” for his works, which tend to centre in a sense of place. Among other places, he designed sound installations for Times Square in New York (1977), for Kunsthalle Bern (1989), für documenta Kassel (1992), fort he Venice Biennale (1999), for Kunsthaus am Landesmuseum Joanneum Graz (2003), for Dia:Beacon, New York (2006), and for the Menil Collection, Houston (2008). Max Neuhaus passed away on February 3, 2009.