Perfect is My Death Word

‘Perfect is My Death Word’ is a recreation of the James Lee Byars sound work of the same name. The original work was produced by Byars and the Neues Museum Weserberg Bremen in 1995 and exists as an edition on CD of 20 minutes of silence after which Byars simply says the sentence ‘perfect is my death word’.

Erik Smith asked Dutch Black Metal band Sammath to recreate the Byars’ work by inserting the sentence into one of their original songs. Sammath performed ‘Perfect is My Death Word’ live at the De Appel Center for Contemporary Art in Amsterdam on February 16, 2007 for the opening of Smith’s exhibition ‘The Ghost of James Lee Byars Calling.’

As black was the central color of the exhibition, this opening performance piece was done in total darkness.

Listen to the whole performance (25 min.) here.

Erik Smith is an artist who lives and works in Berlin. His exhibitions include In Practice Projects, Sculpture Center, LIC, New York, De Appel Center for Contemporary Art, and the Kapinos Gallery, Berlin.

The Ghost of James Lee Byars Calling, 2006,

installation view, Kapinos Galerie, Berlin

dims variable, shown 4x7x5.5m

black room, stack of speakers, sound work: Perfect is My Death Word by Blodsrit,
framed works on paper – each 270x170x12cm

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