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An exhibition by Joaquín Orellana

August - December 2016


Paisaje sonoro (Soundscape) is an exhibition that features the work produced over more than half a century by master composer and sound artist Joaquín Orellana, and seeks to share the legacy of one of the greatest musicians of Latin American avant-garde music. Throughout his extraordinary musical career, Orellana

has also ventured into art and literature, generating

a very cohesive body of work with strong emphasis

on the socio-political realities of Guatemala, Latin America

and the rest of the world.


As part of this exhibition, NuMu released the audio recordings of one of his most emblematic works  – "Fantoidea” – which were realized on August 30th and 31st of 2016, at Guatemala’s National Theater located within the Miguel Ángel Asturias Cultural Center in Guatemala City. The recordings played within NuMu, in loop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the exhibition, while projecting its sounds towards the exterior public space that surrounds the museum.


In this way, the sounds and the recorded music blended organically with the urban and daily sounds of Guatemala City, which in turn, have also informed the work of Orellana throughout his career. In addition, a selection of archives were presented, including scores, photographs and concert programs, to complement the understanding of "Fantoidea”, in particular, as well as his overall artistic legacy.

The exhibition Paisaje sonoro and the recent Concierto Histórico of Joaquín Orellana at Guatemala’s National Theater are the culmination of a crowdfunding campaign organized by NuMu and launched through Kickstarter (with the support of Art Basel), with the purpose of preserving a small part of the great legacy of master Joaquín Orellana. These projects would not have been possible without the enormous generosity of artists Carlos Amorales, Akira Ikezoe and Alberto Rodríguez Collía, who contributed with valuable original artworks for the campaign.


The Project of the Legacy of Joaquín Orellana is an initiative of Carlos Amorales, Stefan Benchoam and Alejandro Torún, and seeks to preserve, celebrate and share locally and internationally the great work of master Orellana, which spans over a 50-year trajectory.

Joaquín Orellana was born in 1930 in Guatemala City, where he studied at the country’s National Conservatory. In 1967 he earned a scholarship to study for two years at the prestigious Instituto Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During this period, his explorations with electroacoustic compositions became a major influence in his forthcoming life’s work. When Orellana returned to Guatemala he found the country under an oppressive military regime which would last more than 20 years, severely limiting creative production.


Searching for a way to share his experimental sound, Orellana turned to a surprising source: the marimba, Guatemala’s national instrument. He used the marimba as a base to create original instrument-sculptures he calls “sound utensils.” Armed with these new tools, Orellana developed a musical language to realize the fantastical compositions he’d been writing in his mind. These instruments have been essential to create the sound effects which are the basis of his ambitious and experimental compositions.

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