Organized by: Museo Reina Sofia Madrid
Curatorship: Maike Aden  

22 September - 11 March 2021

Karel Appel in Phonogram Studio, during de project Musique barbare, 1963. Photo B&W. Nederlands Fotomuseum, © Ed van der Elsken

More than a hundred years ago, pioneers from various directions set out on expeditions into the hitherto unexplored realms of sonic phenomena and processes, previously the exclusive domaine of musicians. Driving force was the visual artists, but also some visionary poets and musicians, even architects and engineers. Leaving all corsets of rules behind, everything in this context was worth exploring: all possible notations (even directly on a record or ephemeral traces in sand), all types of making sound (even by machines or dogs), all forms of staging (even in a desert or completely drunk), and of course all acoustic effects (even silence or ear-splitting crashes). It was both, a liberation of sounds and a liberation of thinking. A reality broke through, pulsating with life, which enlarged and simultaneously shattered the well-defined harmony of allegedly superior forms and styles of the established Western music system which had lost contact with the modern world.

Disonata spans the period from the late 19th century with the first silent pieces and the transformations by Dada and the Futurists in the light of the technological and ideological revolutions until the No Future attitudes of the post-punk scenes in the 1980s. Between these two poles unfold a wide range of very diverse projects. They include the Philips Pavilion from 1958 with its spatial multimedia spectacle as well as a multitude of sound projects with explicit or loose links to groups and movements such as Lettrism, sound and visual poetry, Art Brut, CoBrA, kinetic art, New Realism, Fluxus, Zaj, Conceptual Art, and Pop Art. Their approaches range from corporal noises to electronic synthetizations, from optophonic poetry to technical inventions, from pure ideas to multimedia events, from intimate encounters to spatial multimedia compositions. 

A chronological approach lives up to the polyphonic riches of the unique sound projects which transcend pre-formulated definitions, themes or narratives. Main- and subsidiary paths within the general timeline reveal relations and overlaps, but also discontinuities. Within resonate the individual nuances of the sounds which are of an essentially unclassifiable nature. In this sense, the exhibition can be understood as a veritable disonata: a composition which reflects, extends and surpasses canonical forms of art in sound. It sets the sounds free to resonate in full variety between us and the space. Receiving them with open ears and eyes, we will realize that we perceive and interpret our world to a very large extent acoustically, probably even more than visually.  


Artists: Alphonse Allais, Erik Satie, Erwin Schulhoff, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Francesco Balilla Pratella, Luigi Russolo, Dziga Vertov, Hugo Ball, Raoul Hausmann, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Pierre Schaeffer, Edgard Varèse, Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis, Isodore Isou, Maurice Lemaître, Jean Dubuffet, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Pol Bury, Brion Gysin, François Dufrêne, Henri Chopin, Ilse Garnier, Françoise Janicot, Bernard Heidsieck, Mimmo Rotella, Katalin Ladik, Guy Schraenen, François and Bernard Baschet, Yves Tinguely, George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Mieko Shiomi, Joe Jones, Robert Filliou, La Monte Young, George Maciunas, Tadeuz Kantor, Walter Marchetti,  Juan Hidalgo, José Luis Castillejo, Esther Ferrer, Dieter Roth, Joseph Beuys, Vladan Radovanović, Józef Robakowski, Chris Burden, Robert Morris, Ulises Carrión, Hanne Darboven, Andy Warhol, Dan Graham, Mike Kelley, Raymond Pettibon and many more.       



The exhibition was a project by Guy Schraenen. After his sudden death in 2018, I was asked to continue it. 


21 February - 5 June 2020 (extended until 11 September 2020)

Organized by: Museo Reina Sofía Madrid

Curatorship: Maike Aden

Opening: 20 February 2020, 8:30 pm

Exhibition Kontakt with Guy Schraenen, curated by Maike Aden
Guy Schraenen, Je est un autre, 1987. Private Collection Antwerp

Guy Schraenen (1941–2018) was a gallery owner, publisher, collector, curator, investigator, author. He is probably best known as one of the key figures of a transboundary network of pioneering artists and activists who, from the end of the 1950s on, explored and promoted radical new languages and ways of producing, multiplying, and disseminating artistic ideas and works. Investigating in new formats, materials and concepts, they exceeded the art-immanent circuit with its defined discourses, rituals and rules. Long before established art institutions, critics, and art historians recognized the artistic value of this then new genre of artists' publications, Guy Schraenen treasured, published, exchanged, collected, and presented it to give “the opportunity to a public, kept ignorant by specialized media, to have knowledge” (Manifest A.S.P.C., 1974). 

The exhibition seeks to illustrate Guy Schraenen's various projects, approaches, and connections, starting with his exhibition projects as founder of the Galerie Kontakt. It displays works and documents of his publishing house, Guy Schraenen éditeur, which he founded to explore new paths by publishing works in collaboration with artists. His active participation in the global art exchange network and his efforts to preserve independent artistic creations led to the founding of the Archive for Small Press and Communication (A.S.P.C.), which he ran with Anne Marsily. The exhibition also reflects on his interest in promoting awareness of new art practices by organizing exhibitions, performances, screenings, concerts, essays and radio programs, both as an individual and in collaboration with institutions. From the end of the 1980s on, he was invited by several European museums to found, curate, and present collections of artists’ publications. 

Guy Schraenen’s distinctive work was underpinned by his deep concern to take an independent stance toward the canons of the established art system and to explore territory beyond the mainstream, including beyond the mainstream of the anti-mainstream. With the works presented in this exhibition, we have the chance to witness the free-spiritedness of him.


The exhibition is organised by Museo Reina Sofía Madrid and curated by Maike Aden.


At the day of the opening, from 18h30 -20h30, Museo Reina Sofía Madrid organises also an homage to Guy Schraenen with interventions and a life-performance:

"For Another Approach to Art History". 

Museo Reina Sofía, Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200





Organized by: Museum Serralves, Porto, Portugal. 
Curatorship: Maike Aden 

28 June - 06 December 2019 

GAME, SET, MATCH, Museum Serralves 2019, Curator Maike Aden
Sol LeWitt: Lignes en quatre directions et toutes leurs combinaisons, Bordeaux, Capc Musée d’art contemporain, 1983, detail

The collection of artists’ books of the Serralves Museum, curated by Guy Schraenen until his death in 2018, is one of the leading collections in Europe. Represented are all types and tendencies of this art genre, which emerged in the late 1950s when artists invented the concept of the ‘artist’s book’, a new and revolutionary way of dealing with the space of the book and with the diffusion of ideas and works. On the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, the three-chapter exhibition Game, Set, Match will present major publications by visual artists of all horizons. It will highlight three main investigative fields within the universe of artists’ books: while chapter one deals with the tautological notion of the artist’s book as book, chapter two reflects on the book as an artwork in its own right, equivalent to a painting or a sculpture; chapter three focuses on works that exist at the interface between book and object. Altogether, the presented works are examples of how artists metamorphose the ordinary aspects of the book. Rather than destroying its ideas, they give new life and perspectives to it. 


Organized by: Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon, France
Curatorship: Maike Aden 

19 May 2019 - 22 September 2019

Cover by Roy Lichtenstein (detail): I Cry for You, Bobby 'O, 1983

The exhibition brings together hundreds of vinyl records, covers, objects and graphic works, created by visual artists as well as by poets and some musicians. The works belong to the internationally most important and most comprehensive collection on Sound Art, the Sound Collection Guy Schraenen, which is part of his Archive for Small Press & Communication, now held by the Centre for Artists’ Publications at the Museum Weserburg Bremen, Germany. Various sections of the show range from the avant-garde movements of the beginning of the 20th century such as Dadaism and Futurism, to sound experiments after 1945 by the Lettrists, Sound Poets, Beat Generation, Fluxus, Zaj, Conceptual Art. Presented are also groups of records by artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Dieter Roth, Joseph Beuys, John Giorno, William Burroughs, Roman Opalka, Hermann Nitsch, Hanne Darboven, Allen Ginsberg, Laurie Anderson, as well as singular works by Yves Klein, Tom Wesselmann or Karel Appel. The relationship between visual arts and rock and pop music is highlighted with the records of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground or the Beatles, but also more recent groups such as Kraftwerk, Black Flag or Sonic Youth;  artists such as Andy Warhol, Robert Franck, Peter Blake or Raymond Pettibon have transformed them into icons. A listening table, specially designed for this exhibition, allows visitors to access sound samples by almost all works of the collection. Furthermore is presented a selection of music clips by artists. Chosen are works by visual artists who have found a freedom of creation in this short format which allows them to mix provocations, humour or diversions while echoing our time. In a specially arranged movie space, the public can also watch the documentary Vinylmania which leads through the fascinating facets of the vinyl record. Enthusiastic collectors, DJs, musicians and artists all over the world can be met. Guy Schraenen speaks about his passion for records and covers by artists.

Curators: Sylvie Zavatta for the part "Clips by Artists";  Maike Aden for the part "Sound Collection Guy Schraenen".