Artist in Residence
Artist website: duvaltimothy.co.uk
To listen to Duval’s ‘Mahler, The Song of the Earth’ playlist click here>>
As the ‘Mahler, The Song of the Earth’ open call awardee, Duval Timothy spent a month in Spoleto in April 2021 working from the music room in Casa Mahler and exploring the music of Gustav Mahler.
The ‘Mahler, The Song of the Earth’ project is an initiative of the Mahler Foundation; in the context of the global climate crisis it invites responses to Gustav Mahler’s symphonic work ‘The Song of the Earth’ (Das Lied von der Erde). Writing about the opportunity, Duval said, “In 2017 I made a song and music video Return which is a comment on deforestation in Sierra Leone and provides an optimistic vision for re-planting the urban environment and co-existing with nature in a more intimate way. Many of my projects find their inspiration in specific environments and have led me to connect and care more deeply for that place. Mahler’s The Song of the Earth will be a starting point from which my investigation will grow, I’ll explore the context of Spoleto and hope to make work that could inspire people to consider the critical issues of climate change in a fresh way.”
In his late symphonies, Mahler pioneered aspects of atonality and influenced the next generation of composers and the birth of modern music. Duval’s own interest in atonality was spotted by his brother who, in jest, accused him of making “brown music” – preferring muddy chords, resisting the sweet spot. This inspired his 2016 album title, ‘Brown Loop’, whilst also referencing his mixed-race heritage. Discussing his new compositions, Duval describes wanting to push his explorations further, “to make the music rot, like crushed grapes, and regenerate”.
Duval’s residency culminated in an album, released in October 2022, titled Meeting with a Judas tree. He says: “Meeting with a Judas Tree was partly written and recorded in Spoleto when I participated in the ‘Mahler, The Song of the Earth’ artist residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in partnership with Mahler Foundation. During the residency I surrounded myself with Gustav Mahler’s music, his life story and his world view. Mahler’s work has been transformational for me. It’s music that when given time, is generous in return. Many of the themes I explored in Spoleto are present throughout my new project: the natural world, growth, death and rebirth. Solitude and forgiveness.” Alma Mahler’s piano, in Casa Mahler, appears in the album and the album artwork, depicting a Judas Tree, is a photograph taken by Duval on one of his excursions from Spoleto.
Listen to the album here.
Duval Timothy b.1989, is a multi-disciplinary artist. His work includes music, painting, photography, sculpture, design, food, video and textiles. He explores themes of identity, place and abstraction with a focus on sound and colour. Duval is the founder of clothing and record label Carrying Colour and co-author of The Groundnut Cookbook.
He has performed and exhibited internationally including Tate Modern, London (as The Groundnut); Museo Luigi Varoli, Romagna; Still House Gallery, New York; and Polistar gallery, Istanbul.
Meeting with a Judas Tree is his sixth album. His music collaborations have included work with, amongst others, Vegyn, Kendrick Lamar and the London Contemporary Orchestra.
Duval Lives and works in London, UK and Freetown, SL.