Schering Stiftung


“db” – an Exhibition by Ryoji Ikeda at the Hamburger Bahnhof

Symmetry and Reduction in Music and Fine Art

“db” – an Exhibition by Ryoji Ikeda at the Hamburger Bahnhof

Symmetry and Reduction in Music and Fine Art


January 28 – April 09, 2012

Exhibition opening:

Friday, 27. January 2012, 8–10 p.m.

Opening hours:

Tue-Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

On January 27, 2012, the Hamburger Bahnhof will open the first solo exhibition in Germany by Ryoji Ikeda (born 1966, lives in Paris), the foremost international composer and artist in the field of cutting-edge digital technologies. His works are based on spatiotemporal compositions in which the musical and visual material is reduced to a minimum. He investigates sound, time and space on the basis of mathematical methods and transforms them in his concerts and installations into an intense experience for the audience.

“(…) I am a composer who composes everything: texts, numbers, colors, pixels, ratios, sometimes materials, space and light: It’s always about composition.” (*) Born in Japan, Ikeda has conceived an exhibition for the Hamburger Bahnhof that, for the first time, compositionally unites the two symmetrical halls on the upper level of the museum’s east and west wings. The exhibition’s title »db« (abbr. for decibel) refers to this symmetry while simultaneously indicating the complementary relationship between the two exhibition spaces. Ikeda has designed the white room and the black room as counterparts, not only physically (brightness, color), but also conceptually and perceptually.

The title work »db« (2012) is centrally placed in both halls. In one room, it consists of a black super-directional parabolic loudspeaker that projects a pure wave of sound into the white space; in the other room, a powerful searchlight projects a beam of white light into the black space. The sound in the white room is reduced to a standing sine wave, the simplest musical building block. Every movement by a visitor alters the sonic field, allowing it to be experienced individually. The beam of light in the black room is directed through a hole in a wall at one end of the space and thus becomes perceptible as a white circle. The beam consists of pure white light that, analogously to white noise, contains all the colors of the spectrum. Here, too, visitors’ movements alter the space; whenever they cross the beam of light, reflections illuminate the dark room.

Ryoji Ikeda is currently one of the most influential composers of electronic music. In his minimalist sound installations, which have been on view at prestigious international art institutions, he examines and presents aspect of the physical qualities of sound and frequencies. His work is thus paradigmatic of artistic research, which is a particular focus of the Schering Stiftung’s programs. The Foundation also supports his show at the Hamburger Bahnhof for its interdisciplinary combination of music and visual arts. His compositions are works in which time and space are shaped through the most minimal use of sound, light and visual elements.

(*) Ryoji Ikeda, Interview in DE:BUG 05.2011

Ryoji Ikeda: »db«

Composition | Exhibition

Opening: Friday, January 27, 8 p.m.
Exhibition Dates: January 28 – April 9, 2012

Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof
Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
Invalidenstr. 50-51, 10557 Berlin
Tue-Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

A project by Freunde Guter Musik Berlin e.V. and Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin.
In collaboration with MaerzMusik 2012 | Berliner Festspiele.
Made possible by funding from the Schering Stiftung and the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (German Capital Cultural Fund).

Curators: Ingrid Buschmann, Gabriele Knapstein

Contact & Information

Ingrid Buschmann / Freunde Guter Musik Berlin e.V.
Phone: ++49-(0)30-215 6120,

Press Contact:
Achim Klapp, Phone: ++49-(0)30-2579 7016,

For more information, please visit:

Ryoji Ikeda
data.tron, audiovisual installation, 2007
Photo: Ryuichi Maruo
courtesy of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM)


Read more


Contact & social networks

Schering Stiftung

Unter den Linden 32-34
10117 Berlin

Telefon: +49.30.20 62 29 62

Opening hours
Project space

Thursday to Monday: 1 pm - 7 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 11 am - 7 pm
free entrance

Follow us!

Follow us on our social media channels to find out the latest developments!

facebook Youtube Instagram