Biography

Chris Newman

  • London, England, UK, 1958
  • Composer

Chris Newman goes to King’s College, London, Bachelor of Music degree 1979. During this time meets Russian poet Eugene Dubnov with whom he translates Dubnov & other Russian poets (Chlebnikov, Mandelstam) for publication. This work proves seminal in his development, as translating, as in from one medium to another or from life into art becomes one of the most important aspects of his work. In 1979 starts writing poems which are his; moves to Cologne 1980. Studies with Mauricio Kagel in this town. Both Kagel & Cologne give him a sense of release from stylistic expectancy — he writes (music) which occurs to him regardless of how it might sound. Through a commission from ICA London he’s obliged to write his first piece of substantial size, & through this obligation finds a way to put different types of precomposed musical material together like a pathway, like passing through a passage.

In 1982 sings for the first time in public, songs he wrote for composer Gerald Barry to perform, but owing to a fall of snow in Dublin preventing that person from leaving his country, he has to perform them himself. In 1983 forms rock band Janet Smith as composer/singer often transferring material written for classical media to this rock medium & vice versa. In 1984 meets Morton Feldman. Brings about a crises which tries to change his approach, but then realizes he should do the opposite i.e. consolidate the old one. This brings about a closer & more literal translating of methods used in the making of work in one medium into other media which ultimately brings about starting to paint (1989). Becomes more anxious to present works in various medias which is made in the same way together, to dissolve the media, to place the work more directly inside the viewer. In 1994 makes installations (including live installations) in larger museum-type spaces (Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Konstmuseum Borås, Kunstverein Düsseldorf) which enable this attempt. He uses for his material direct personal surrounding, such as his relationships, for his material. Now lives in Berlin.

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