This work by Harry Bertoia is made of 40 beryllium copper and brass

Harry Bertoia

American, 1915–1978

Sonambient (40 rods), 1975

Beryllium copper and brass

16 x 16 x 4 inches

“When I was a very young boy, living in a small Italian village,” said Bertoia, “I sensed one day that a celebration was about to take place. There was a great feeling of excitement in the air…. All the cathedral bells in all the little village were ringing…. I think my work with sound may be an attempt to recapture the magic of that moment but, of course, it’s much more than that.”

In 1959 Bertoia was making a sculpture out of several rods. As he attemped to bend a rod, it broke and struck another, making a sound. “The sound echoed in my mind for a very long time,” said Bertoia. “It initiated a deliberate gesture in search of understanding what a group of wires would do.” This marked the beginning of a decade and a half in which Bertoia worked extensively with sounding sculptures, calling them and the aural environment they created “sonambients.”

This work by Harry Bertoia is made of 40 beryllium copper and brass