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Shapes of Music – Visual Art and Music
An artist has the privilege of communicating with you visually. Sometimes he wants to share his faith in a few words.
The new “Visual Grammar” developed by the European avant-garde of the 1920s, especially the Russian avant-garde – notably Wassily Kandinsky – and the classical heritage from ancient Greece to the Renaissance is a stepping stone in my own artistic research.
What I do is to build the composition on this step, based on the visual grammar established by the classical and modern schools, and then fill it with content that is more emotional than intellectual, and at this stage I force rational tools to yield to intuition. It is like a rigid skeleton surrounded by soft living tissue.
I believe that the spiritual – ideal – objective model constitutes our true Reality.
So-called “realism” is an ill-defined term usually attributed to art that focuses on depicting the visible surfaces of material objects. It is the indication and result of an incomplete, even faulty mental horizon, a primitive materialistic view of reality, reduced to a small fraction of the physical world – the fraction that can be seen or felt.
I should note here that many fine works of art labeled with this word do not fall into this ill-defined category.
Pure abstract art, which is closer to me because it deals with a more important part of Reality than matter, specifically ideas and pure forms, is also incomplete. I believe that the complete elimination of material objects as classes from paintings not only impoverishes the artist’s “toolbox”, but is a consequence and indication of a one-sided approach to (a) Reality – this time purely idealistic. it almost coincides with the concept of Plato, who saw the changing physical world as a poor, decaying copy of the perfect world.
Yes, abstract art certainly delivered great masterpieces to mankind in the 20th century. And I cannot agree with Roger Fry’s statement: “The form of a work of art has its own meaning, and the contemplation of the form in and of itself creates a special emotion in some people that does not depend on association. form with anything else.” But this does not mean that a self-sufficient form cannot be turned into a recognizable object.
By the way, the original definition of a widespread concept – Visual Music – was created by Roger Fry in 1912 to describe Kandinsky’s work, which means the translation of music into painting.
As for intuitionism, or any theory that the creative process is a purely ingenious, spontaneous, and purely emotional act, it wouldn’t even be worth talking about if it weren’t for such a widely held assumption. I have personally heard from several artists, an art critic, and several art dealers that the mental and physical aspects of the creative process (i.e., ideas and techniques) are merely boring constraints and an inevitable evil of creativity. I believe it began as a counterpoint to the dry, indeed demeaning, academicism or “classicism” of the mid-19th century. It may have begun (maybe) that some leaders of the Impressionist movement openly rejected the “old grammar”, emphasizing the importance of direct impression and the artist’s spontaneous, emotional reaction to this impression during the creative process. But almost all the artists of this period had a serious ‘classical’ training before their rejection; they inherited all the assets of the given area, they also inherited the basic visual grammar on a subconscious level, which cannot be said for many XX. about their followers in the 19th century, who even today question the importance of a bachelor’s degree in visual arts, as the power of the analytical, deductive component in art creation.
The avant-garde movement of the first third of the century came as a breath of fresh air, filling the vacuum left by a dead academicism and degrading impressionism. Not only did it restore the position of intellectual tools in the arts, but it also dramatically expanded the boundaries of the visual arts to unprecedented levels. Here I would like to emphasize that very similar and radical processes were taking place worldwide during this period in the social sphere, in science and industry, in architecture and literature, and of course in music.
After that, I would like to summarize what all this means for me and my art:
1. Solid abstract and, if necessary, mathematically described foundations of the composition are essential (must be present) in my work.
2. An object must be presented in my work of art, because I do not share a purely idealistic (in the style of Plato) approach to reality, which, in my opinion, ultimately leads to the mental non-creation of the world.
3. My work must be a fusion of the two aspects, the ideal and material aspects, mixed with a third – spiritual force.
From this point of view, music, which is very abstract, and musicians with their beautiful instruments, who are so “real”, are perfect subjects for my exercises. Moreover, music and the visual arts have much in common. I can’t help but mention at least a few categories that both have in common:
Rhythm – this is very obvious: duration / length / frequencies, including negative spaces and forming (or being formed by) negative spaces / pauses / absence / silence – all common to both fields.
Ratios – harmonic ratios and their derivatives, usually described in mathematical terms, starting with the very basics discovered by Pythagoras – 1:2, 2:3, 3:4, 1:1 – specifically discovered in the acoustic / musical domain (please note that these are the basic proportions of canvases that can be purchased at an art supply store), and then proceed to the Fibonacci series, which has its limit at the irrational golden ratio.
The temperature of sounds and colors (cold/warm). This idea is still controversial, but it is clear that tones and colors can be warmer or cooler. The exact scientific connection between them is less obvious.
Movement – ascending, descending, elliptical, etc. Musicians don’t need an explanation for this, and neither do artists. Please see in the elliptical composition of the very first image on my home page my study of ascending and descending movements, entitled “Trio”.
All of these categories sound (or look!) familiar to musicians and visual artists alike, don’t they?
We can talk about background sounds and colors, about how sound is like a ray emerging and fading from a given starting point, or part of an endless line from eternity to eternity. We could mention timbre intensity/saturation in both areas, devoting a chapter to contrast theory, for example between a ‘low’ and ‘deep’ continuous sound or form, and a sharp ‘hit’ of a note or note. paint.
On the human ability to see sounds and hear colors, I again recommend Vasiliy Kandinsky’s Synaesthesia.
Another fascinating topic is the concept of Counterpoint (also known as Contrapunkt), which defines the relationship between two or more different parts of a piece that are, say, somewhat independent in rhythm but interdependent in harmony. This powerful instrument is, in my opinion, much less understood, appreciated and used in the visual arts than in music.
I have drawn these parallels for both arts fundamentally or at a fundamental level. But as part of Life, they are constantly changing (I hate the term ‘still life’ or ‘natural death’, because life by definition cannot be still or mortal), evolve, develop or, unfortunately, regress. I find many similarities between modern scientific thinking (relativistic theory, quantum theory, expanding universe model, string theory, etc.) and modern art.
Ultimately, I try to do two things: to explore reality, including but not limited to the “visible” fraction, and to participate in shaping it. I think that’s ultimately what the creative process is all about.
“Therefore we borrow all our rules for the completion of our proportions from musicians, who are the greatest masters of numbers of this kind, and from those things in which nature shows herself to be the most excellent and most complete.” – Leon Battista Alberti (1407-1472)
I am an artist.
I am privileged to communicate with you visually.
The musical artworks presented on the site are selected works from my “Shapes of Music” series.
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