Painters have always recognized the power of music and the profound influence it has on their own work. For Kandinsky, music became a model and a key source of both inspiration and innovation.
This retrospective is an attempt to provide an alternative way of looking at his masterpieces.
It will feature 46 works from 1902 to 1944, among them the very first improvisation of 1909 and the last canvas of 1942. My wish is to share with the public the same excitement I felt when first encountering paintings such as that icon of the Bauhaus, Accented Corners (1922-1923), with its loud, brassy sound, and the Last Judgement (1910), a deafening and disturbing work.
The astonishing sensory fusion, which allows one almost to hear music in the burst of colour, is breathtaking. I am no synaesthete, nor can I claim to have had any mystical experiences, yet I cannot help feeling the tremendous sense of power these works convey each time I return to them. As Lorenzo in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venus tells us,
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motion of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.
(Act V, Scene I)
Two hundreds years later, Goethe stressed the importance and relevance of both music and painting in daily life when suggesting that ”a man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine painting every day of his life.” A further two hundered years on, while lacking the eloquence and insight of either Goethe or Shakespeare, I would simply invite people to admire the work of an artist who showed that music and painting could combine to change our perception of the world. I am convinced they will find it an uplifting and enriching experience.
Text by Helly Nahmad.