Tomaga is Valentina Magaletti and Tom Relleen. The two London musicians have toured galleries and art spaces near and far; here they share their thoughts about various exhibitions and spaces from New York to Antwerp.
Middelheim Sculpture Museum (Antwerp)
Some good friends run the cafe here and we have stopped by many times over the years on the way back from shows in the Netherlands or Belgium. It's in the forest and the artworks are spread all over the place. Some are hidden in the trees and quite difficult to find. At one point there was a giant owl here which Valentina sat inside. We don’t remember who made it, but it confirmed that this was a special location. It is home to Braem-Pavillon, which is somewhere we hope to perform one day. It’s like a building from Planète Sauvage.
Ai Weiwei, “Libero,” Palazzo Strozzi (Firenze)
We saw this after our show in Milan last month. The spirit of irreverence is really inspiring. Portraits made out of legos and the trashing of the institutions which govern our past, combined with the general shock or realization of what it must be like to be an outspoken artist living in modern China. We take a lot for granted living in the West and being able to say and do as we please.
Marlene Dumas, “The Image As Burden,” Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam)
So many faces painted in oil: Pasolini, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse. Bleached, blinking faces that look like white noise, the common denominator being a general theme about death (and life) unified by the artist's style, which is somehow comforting and terrifying (I think we might have been very hung over for this one).
Yoko Ono, “We Are All Water,” MAC (Lyon)
We are biased since we had a small work in one of the rooms here, a drip with a marble in it which was a percussive take on the theme. We were invited to participate by the curators of Nuits Sonores. We were very honored to be included, and when we visited this exhibition in Lyon we found it to be so much fun and full of life.
Grayson Perry, “Provincial Punk,” Margate Turner (UK)
We were in the Turner Gallery rehearsing to do a performance with Pedro Reyes instruments which were in the main room, and we got to spend some time in the Grayson Perry exhibition next door, too. There’s no one quite like him. He confronts a lot of the hidden, smoldering tensions in British culture that no one else seems to want to talk about, and asks a lot of questions about identity and sexuality. He is also an advocate of art as therapy, which we feel strongly about, too: the benefits of using an artistic practice to unburden your subconscious.
Hannah Höch at Whitechapel Gallery (UK)
We love collage, and our first two releases featured collage artwork by Ross Adams as well as three tomagazine zine editions of collages by Valentina and our friend Agnese Fortuna. Hannah Höch's work is a direct inspiration—the style and sensibility is brilliant. As well as that, she was a woman artist working prior to and during the Nazi stronghold in Germany. She had to overcome lots of prejudices and struggled with the Nazis and throughout continued to make great art. We consider some of our audio compositions to be a form of audio collage.
Anish Kapoor at the Le Corbusier-designed Sainte Marie de La Tourette convent, near Lyon (France)
All of Le Corbusier's architecture is amazing and utopian. This building is not only a functioning monastery—it was also full of Anish Kapoor artworks when we were taken here by our Lyonnaise friend Agathe Max. We took one of our favorite artist pictures in front of Kapoor's giant black convex mirror (photo attached).
Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne (Switzerland)
These people were removed from society and made art in secret or in captivity, with pure or therapeutic intent. The life stories are as compelling as the art itself, and suffused with tragedy, joy, and different shades of sanity. It profoundly illustrates how art can act as salvation for those in pain.
Richard Serra at the Guggenheim (Bilbao)
We performed at a squat party all night in Bilbao and the next day, after almost no sleep, we went to the Guggenheim and took refuge in the massive sculptures of Richard Serra. The sheer size and simplicity of these objects and the way they interact with the empty white stillness of the gallery space were amazing. We felt like they were almost sound objects in some impossible way. This inspired the song titled “Mountain Opener” from our first LP.
Böhm's Brutalist church in Neviges (Germany)
Relax: there is no God. Here’s some concrete. Concrete makes for good churches as well as bunkers and venues. This is an inspiring place of brutal beauty that is pretty much the mecca for lovers of Brutalist architecture. We duly went on a pilgrimage to visit it. This church in West Germany has both a remarkable interior and exterior. We’d love to perform in here and hear the acoustics one day!
Futurist exhibition at the Guggenheim (New York)
There is a spirit of playfulness that we definitely relate to in Futurism. And the fact that they tried to make typefaces imitate sounds is very appealing in a cross-format kind of way (see picture). We visited after our first-ever performance in America, opening for Deerhoof at Poisson Rouge. That was back in 2014. We had just started playing and were in an exultant mood.