Printmaker, sculptor & industrial designer, Arieto [Harry] Bertoia was born in 1915 in San Lorenzo, Italy & moved to the United States in 1920 after a brief stay in Canada. He studied and worked at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and settled near Bally, Pennsylvania where he died in 1978.
In the early 1970’s Harry Bertoia & 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.
In the later period of his career, he began to focus on sculpture that interacted with viewers and/or the elements, like the wind and weather, and as he built smaller pieces in his studio, he began to explore the ways in which the metal and other materials could be manipulated by hand to produce sound. By stretching, bending, striking, and in other ways moving the materials, he made them respond to wind and/or to touch to create different sounds or tones, which he then taught himself to “play” and recorded a series of pieces. He also performed with the pieces in a number of concerts. The completed Sonambient also consists of gongs and suspended sonic-bars. Within his renovated barn, Harry made more than 360 magnetic-tape recordings.
As of March 2016