From: The Museum of Contemporary Art Limited Edition: 15 Exhibition: Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900 Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl Dimensions: 35" x 96" (88.9cm x 243.84cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
The idea that the senses work together is nothing new. But finding visual ways to express sounds is something completely different. Russian avant-garde composer and painter Mikhail Matiushin (1861-1934) sought to meld the aspects and emotions of sound with color. His stunning abstractions are layered with rich colors and random-seeming splotches that are not random at all. 15 banners from the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles are large-scale color fields expressing Matiushin's exuberant vision.
In 1912, art critic Roger Fry coined the term "visual music" to define the attempts of artists who sought common ground between the disparate experiences of sight and sound. Sound and music seemed to provide the prime example of an experience that is concrete but nonetheless abstract. The exhibition, Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900 played upon this melding of visual and auditory experience.
Russian composer, painter, and color theorist Mikhail Matiushin (1861 – 1934) was part of the Russian avant-garde. As part of this movement, he focused on color and felt that a new, Utopian world should be painted in bright, vibrant colors. His theories went beyond the visual perception of color to explore multiple dimensions and the experiences of color. His treatise from 1932, “The Laws Governing the Variability of Colour Combinations: A Reference Book on Colour” was among the last publications of the Avant-Garde before Social Realism became the only artistic outlet sanctioned by the Communist Party. Matiushin’s views are certainly realized in his work Painterly Musical Construction shown on banners from the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. With swirls and whorls of bright greens, blues, oranges and reds, the work is a mosaic of color that can be heard as well as seen.
Both sides of the banner feature orange bands at the top and at the bottom. The banners were designed to span a lamppost and fit together to create a complete image. On one side, white text reads “Visual” at the top – the other side completes this with the word “Music” at the top. At the bottom of one side is the exhibition sponsor, “The Annenberg Foundation”; the other side has the museum name and exhibition dates “MOCA/Grand Avenue/Feb13-May22, 2005”
These banners were displayed around Los Angeles from February 13 to May 22, 2005 to promote the exhibition Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. The exhibition was jointly organized with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC where it was also seen.