when the canvas sounds

It is one of a kind feeling when you are surrounded by the silence that is filled and trembling with music living inside it!

This is exactly how it feels being around these giants. Giants in the physical and metaphysical sense.

I’ve seen these before. On a paper… on a screen.. in a ‘coffee-table-book’ size… You get used to them occupying a smaller amount of physically perceivable space. But you don’t mind. Because, in your head, they still end up big and endless and space-defying. And they always have an aura. Each one. Their own. Expanding. Exploding aura.

Of course, Aura has the most fascinating aura of all! Just look at those ‘ties’ being the tentacles of freedom spreading out of its centre. Centre that is two. Like contours in a fog of a horizontal eight. An infinity. An infinity made of a whole. A whole made of two wholes. Look at those tentacles of freedom, spreading all that shimmering colours of glittering sound… painting the spacetime with the voice of Aurora Borealis. A vision that just keeps on pulsing.

And then…

Suddenly when you stand among them, seeing them big, seeing these symbols so neatly (dis)organised on a thick silky yet rough texture.. a canvas. Feeling these symbols of sound iconised in this media that has been reserved for colour. Suddenly from there, all those colours of sound, nuances and the timbres of a ‘sign’, of a geometrical symbol that stands for a sound… all and everything starts to tremble. Each white canvas extends as one eternity. Each becomes isolated by its unique ‘voice’. Each one is alone, while they are all together. And the black ink starts to verve and leek vivid colours that sound. That are sound. Sound that is as silent as the whiteblack, and as loud as the blackwhite. Each dispersing and filling one spacetime, as if they are simultaneously existing in parallel. (This might have been the impression because of the actual proximity of works in the exhibition space. Although, they never seemed as if they are crowded, or crowding each other. Nevertheless, experiencing each of these works being on their own, on a big white wall, might bear some alterations to experiencing. After all, just as any piece of music, any performance, does.)

There is a one-word name for children’s colouring books in Serbian: “bojanice” [boja=colour, bojiti=colouring/to paint]. It is a simple word, a noun. Yet, it feels like a rebel noun camouflaging itself into a verb. But in reality, it is just an offering of potential. It is a frame, a shape that has to be coloured. It has a form already, yet its form is just one state in becoming.

When first seeing “Sheet Music” I just couldn’t help but think: “ha… muzikovnice” [that is not a dictionary recognizable word. although, for me, it feels as it is. and it would be something of the equivalent to bojanice and that feeling ‘noun camouflaging itself into a verb‘, or: a form in one state of becoming]. Everything about these pieces screams “play me, play me!! Invade with me the spacetime for one moment and one moment only. Take my shapes of the current state and let me keep on.. becoming!”.
Yet… one should not ‘play’ them with the physical sounding that happens in physical space. So, they just stand, in spacetime. On the canvas, in the canvas, with the canvas. For eternity. As a… thing.

But that is the thing about a ‘thing’. Even the most ‘thingiest‘ of things is not really a thing. It is just a super dense collection of very very long and slow-moving events. So… finally, they sound.
When they start to move a bit more. In the mind.
And from there, from being a thought, they become eternally sounding. And thus they invade multiple spacetimes. All at once.

Each work bearing a Title, in a very classical form, a ‘sonatian statement’ form, allows one to flow into them as if they are ‘familiar’. You can create an interpretation. And come to some fun realizations.

[oh all the funs you can have with the “wedding”… the “go away”.. the last supper..cats footprint light prison music actress music in the middle sunset l’originedumondethefamilyapplausedon’tshoutingwindparkwheelsexitdonepaymentparkforflutestonalityintimacybaroque.. oh just, all of them!]

But then you see these Depots… They are a screaming invitation to go nuts creative in your mind. Even if they would not have a title, the visual aspect of these works just oozes the need to build, as bricks are neatly organized and waiting. Waiting like legions of vibrating events in expectations to be recruited and put into formations, by each observer. While they stand they move and tremble from all the energy they each contain. Each trying to contain.

just look at those sharps prancing, getting blurrier and blurrier, from all the ‘direction’ they are trying to constrain still, in one place. This image just flickers, and all HISses, the longer you look

As you look and sink into each, you start to wonder ‘are these lines silence? Or are they time? Is time silence?

And you notice how all these sounds, contained in symbols, are lurking from under.. are they waiting to attack? Attack with vigour and kindness? But then… you also start to wonder
but what if the lines are also sound? They do seem like ‘calm’ waves’. None of these symbols touche. What if we just can’t perceive them?
For for sound to exist a silence must exist. But for silence to exist, there must be another sound that will envelop this silence into becoming silence. But then the sounds must create a filed. In which they intertwine. In order to create silence. For sound to appear. Like two same polarities of a magnet that will repel themselves, two sounds will come close only to create silence in between them. To make them self exist. Once the silence appears, the sound appears. Once the sound appears, the silence appears.

And then as one thinks all of this, one starts to play around with formations of these geometric symbols embedded with sounding… so, you play the canvas. And it starts to sound. In your head.

Of course, ultimately every notation is a graphic representation of music, or… at least the most accurate possible attempt of. But in the case of “Sheet Music” pieces (image like non-image, one frame, layout..), it is one visual “screen grab” of otherwise sonic event that has happened. Or is happening. Or should or will happen. Only, a sonic event can’t be seen. Yet now, it sounds on the canvas.
Within the context that is given, or rather – the context that is not there, these pieces of music, represented in this form, vibrate. First in your eyes. And through your eyes into your mind. And through your mind into your ears.
They are a frozen moment in time of a musical happening that unfreezes in the mind and ear of the observer. They are a tool and a game for one’s imagination, or better yet soundination, to stay sharp by going on treasure hunts for all the ways of how/when/from what sound can occur and music can be. And become. And continue into its becoming.

Everything about these pieces is play. Play with perspective. Play with perception. Play with action and interaction. Of movement and stillness.

Johannes Kreidler: Footprint [from “Sheet Music”]

They are witty, deep, funny, beautiful, reflective, social commentary…
They speak. Shout. Sing. Whisper. Breath. Freeze. Melt.
They are still. They are moving.
Moving the inside and the outside of the bodymind. Bodymind of their own. Bodymind of the observer.

And, just in case still needing more on how beautifully and imaginatively sounding these canvases are, consider this:
A man walked in the gallery space with two children. One was in his arms. The other one just runs into space. She quickly glanced over, scanned the whole room. Her eyes opened wide as if they were saying “oooooooooh”. After a second she runs straight over the ‘do not cross’ lines and just pressed her left ear right in the area of the first line of quarter notes of the ‘Depot9’. What a beautiful reaction and image that was! She knew there is a voice to this canvas. There is a sound to this canvas. There is music in these canvases. And just went to listen to its story. Imagine this, I’d say, 7-8ish year old when suddenly she was reprimanded by the exhibition guard (admittedly just doing her job well) that the line can not be crossed and paintings should not be touched… One can only hope that this curious child will continue to investigate how else she can ‘hear’ the singing of canvas!

Whenever one gets a chance or should create a chance: go play these games of “Sheet Music”! Or even better: play these games of imagination, of soundination and invention with “Sheet Music”!

▪︎ This text is a reflection on Johannes Kreidler‘s “Sheet Music” solo exhibition during the retrospective at ZeitGenusse festival.▪︎ 

Feature Photo: flip-book-like interpretation of Kreidler’s “Candle”, by the curious speckle.
Photos: from Johannes
Kreidler’s “Sheet Music” (+retrospective) solo exhibition during ZeitGenusse festival .
More about
Johannes Kreidler.

from “Sheet Music” by Johannes Kreidler
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