Original Sonambient® Barn

 

In the early 1970s Designer and Sculptor Harry Bertoia and his son Val, made hundreds of sound sculptures. These sculptures represent Harry Bertoia's formation of Sonambient®.

Sonambient® was Bertoia's term to describe the spatial and tonal environment created by these sound sculptures.

Harry Bertoia created these sculptures of different shapes, length and thickness in order to achieve a range of gentle and sharp sounds. He experimented as a way to seek harmonic balance with the metal, resulting in pure, unique tones.

When touched, struck or brushed, these sculptures became abstractions of sound as they sway and knock against one another. The sounds are organic and mysterious, as tones resonate and flow into each other.

The completed Sonambient® also consists of gongs and suspended sonic-bars. Within his renovated barn, Harry made over 360 magnetic-tape recordings and compositions between 1968-1978. 11 of these recordings were made into LP vinyl records in his lifetime and are collector's items today. The sound-tracks for these 11 LP vinyl records are available on a set of 6 CDs in our online Shopping Cart.

In the present, Val Bertoia continues the Bertoia tradition of sound sculptures.

Get Back

Back when I was a young boy growing up in Bally, PA, I had a vision of being a guiding spirit for woodland people which I called ‘treepies’. And in this vision, I was working with my hands. At the time, my father Harry Bertoia had already invented the vertical-rod sound-sculpture, connecting with his own childhood memories of church bells in Italy. The simple touching of metal rods became the most amazing discovery of his career, and opened me up to a world from which the growing directional life spiral flows. Unlike most forms of art, these sound-sculptures can have healing energies even with one’s eyes closed. My childhood vision turned prophetic when I joined my father utilizing my mechanical engineering degree to work alongside my father, Harry Bertoia, to create and install large-scale sound-sculptures.

Where Healing and Art Intersect

My connection to the land and its elements and energies has always inspired my work – this growing spiral of life has undeniably influenced me and my work which plays out in all directions – east-south-west-north. If you come visit, Harry Bertoia’s original, Bertoia Studio in Bally, PA, I will take you on a walk through my Eco-logical Sculpture Pathway where one can walk the path, and feel the energies of nature, water, sun, wind, and trees. I also host sound performances as part of the tour in the ?Sonambient®? Barn for small audiences. The ?Sonambient®? Barn is virtually a gallery of gongs, suspended tubes and clusters of vertical metal rods, which sway and knock against one another can be strummed as musical instruments in addition to being sculptures, these works are made by my father and myself. Here walking along the Ecological Sculpture Pathway, one can transcend the daily stresses of life and more wholly connect with the universe on the original ‘Bertoia’ home. The spatial and tonal environment created by these sound sculptures is unlike anything you have ever experienced in this world. It is the purest way to connect with God and Nature – just by closing one’s eyes and keeping an open mind.

---Val Bertoia