Re-Inventing the Past: Artist Research: Re-Inventing Music through Art

In order to gain a better grasp of how I would like to illustrate notation to the music I create for my book I have found artists whom have done this in the past.

I found 3 artists who have created art in this style.

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky (December 16th 1866 – December 13th 1944) was a Russian painter and art theorist.

It has been described that Kandinsky uses the combination of colours to give a visual representation of chords, he once said “Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul”.

He named pieces with high involvement of musical influence with musical terms, such as composition, improvisation or impression.

Although Kandinsky’s work is very abstract, it is clear to see what the creation represents, through the placement of lines and colours. for example I can see lines representing strings within this particular piece (Composition 6).

Also when looking at the colour of this piece, I would assume that the majority of this musical piece Kandinsky based this painting off was in the minor key, due to the amount of blue and dark muted tones used, although the occasional reds and yellows suggest perhaps some exciting moments, either through staccato or through key changes within its composition.

I also believe that I can see a ship in a stormy sea getting knocked by the waves, with debris falling around it. Could this musical piece be a pirate/ sailor tune? Or perhaps it is a generally dramatic piece and Kandinsky just happened to envision this whilst listening to the particular song at hand.

I would like to involve these characteristics in my creation, the lines with different colours that merge together forming visual chords, as well as making the abstract painting resemble something that I happen to envision whilst listening to the particular song.

Rainer Wehinger

Rainer Wehinger was, or is a graphic designer. There is not any available biography or information regarding who Wehinger actually is or his origin stories, but his work is odd and visually captivating. His most known piece being an audio score created of György Ligeti’s musical piece named “Artikulation”. The piece is named artikulation as it is said to be a conversation through music without words… question and answer if you will.

Image result for rainer wehinger

Although this looks complicated to decryption what this score shows, it is still nonetheless interesting to look at due to its originality, and it appears as though a lot of information has been stored onto this piece, leaving the viewer wanting to uncover what this piece is code for, or its sound.

This piece initiates a discussion amongst viewers: debates of what the sound is that the sheet’s trying to depict, what the purpose of the music notation in this style is, how the idea may have come… thus giving the piece an audience.

I would like my piece to open a discussion in the way that this piece does, as I believe the way I illustrate the architecture would be fairly descriptive in design, so to contrast that I would like a fairly abstract design to the music notation, as it would also allow for difference in opinions from different people viewing the image.

John Cage

Cage (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American Composer, Theoretician and Writer.

Cage is known for re-inventing modern music through his art and composition skills, with the use of unconventional instruments in pieces and through his artistic representation.

It was said that Cage used Asian philosophies to create his music, such as harmony in nature, also elements of chance.

Image result for John Cage music paintings

Cage’s art is actually pretty similar to that of Kandinsky’s. With its abstract style and colours also displaying somewhat of a visual chord, although this is a little less abstract when compared to the piece I talked about by Kandinsky as in this painting you can see a keyboard, strings, and shapes curves that correlate to that of a violin or guitar, you can also see what appears to be a figure within the image.. perhaps its him? or it could be someone in mind when composing the song that this piece is based off.

To summarise, Cage’s art is similar to Kandinsky’s, yet the ‘clues’ are slightly more obvious, making the investigation conducted by the viewers a lot more inviting as it still invites for the viewer to try and uncover the meaning to this painting, and also allows an easier search than that of Kandinsky’s paintings.

I’m going to take these characteristics and attempt to use them in my own style of musical art, as I believe this will make my pieces successful and allows me to go in with a strong idea of what I would like to achieve.

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