Home Magazine Across the infinite musical space straight to Bernhard Paul’s series

Two arts on one canvas; the composition of music and art as seen by Bernhard Paul. Read the most recent art news from Kooness Magazine, the best resource for contemporary art.

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As the notion of space crosses your mind, the first connection will probably be the universe, with an approximated effort to note this vastness down in some way. Bernhard Paul, French artist born in the 70s, attempts to represent music in his artworks just as Kandinsky and Paul Klee did from the foundation of the same art movement.

Classical composers from the post-war period such as Eric Satie, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, George Friedrich Has and Edgar Varese were key to the artists non-representational painting. According to Bernhard, the musical compositions of these performers have a close connection to abstract painting. Enthused by beat and rhythm rather than tone, the artist utilises a wide-ranging colour palette and brushstroke approach. He uses different directions for his brushstrokes; horizontal, diagonal or vertical as well as tear dropped brushstrokes, that characterize the painting by giving it flatness or depth.


Bernhard Paul, Agens LV, 2022. Courtesy of Galerie Anna25.


What creates a neat and arranged music sheet are diverse elements such as pitches, tone values, and accidentals. As a matter of fact, the artists’ intention is to transfer these strictures on canvas and ensure the most accurate representation of the performers. Instead, the Space Notation seek to break the rules and conventions of the degenerate art movement from the German regime as many composers felt these rules were a bit convicting and didn’t leave margin for autonomy to them. To this extent, many experimented with a hybrid between improvisation and the determination of at least a temporal or spatial sequence of events. This is where ‘space notation’ comes into scene: it outlines a space reinforced by a timeline giving the artist the freedom to play their sound within this time frame.


For the Space Notation II collection, he presents two series called “agens” and “prelude.” In the former case, he utilises Winbeck’s compositions and transfers it on canvas. Agens translates as the driving force from latin. Contentious to all musical parameters and complexities, Winbeck dedicated his career to the “New Simplicity” movement, using simple tonal language, and flat moments who present outbreaks of sound. Paul transforms these sound surfaces into visual surfaces: splashes of colour blurred together that leave a hint of the primary colour and create washed-out scenes. Paul limits his shades to five, in order to transmit an oxymoron of calmness and vitality.


Bernhard Paul, Prelude 05, 2022. Courtesy of Galerie Anna25

The series “agens” is split into two groups; “agens silent” and “agens particular,” where he composes surfaces refined by individual brushstrokes. The effect is remarkable as the ghostly, fine-surface background and the colour particles added in the following steps stay on two different dimensions. This effect results in the likeness of a train-ride, with raindrops on a window pane, and the rushing landscape blurred in the background.


Space Notation takes even more shape as the collection includes two more series names “Prelude” and “Interlude” where the American harpist Zeena Parkins (1956), and composer composer John Cage (1912-1992) play a crucial role. In “Prelude,” his artworks concentrate on clear vertical stripes of colour, which he distorts through horizontal rubbing whose outcome is a three-dimensional wave relief, that reminisce Zeena Parkins' harp compositions. In the “interlude” series, he goes one step further by adding a layer of horizontal sequence of colours that recall piano strokes, which fade out downward and blend together. Paul’s intent is to draw attention towards the juxtaposing vertical and horizontal lines, bringing to light coexisting multi-dimensions and spaces.

Cover image: Bernhard Paul, Interlude Part III JC 18, 2022. Courtesy of Galerie Anna25 

Written by: Sveva Berto

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