I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Nouvelle 55: Landschaft Mit Roten Flecken, Nr. 2

Wassily Kandinsky: Landschaft mit roten Flecken, Nr. 2

That is beautiful which is produced by the inner need, which springs from the soul. KANDINSKY

I am one among multitudes yet my soul
Raps out a unique rhythm through the woods
And forests, hills and mountains of my desires,
Singing a soft and sinuous path
On cliffs as tall as longing and in chasms
Deep as dreaming, dancing its course
Under rainbow bridges, tree-trunk chimneys,
Coal-black peaks and death-black doorways.

Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibration in the soul. KANDINSKY

(For Kandinsky's ideas on the spiritual significance of colour, and colour's relation to music, see this Wikipedia article. On the colour red: Red is a warm colour, lively and agitated; it is forceful, a movement in itself. On the colours blue and yellow: Yellow is a typically terrestrial colour, whose violence can be painful and aggressive. Blue is a celestial colour, evoking a deep calm. The combination of blue and yellow yields total immobility and calm, which is green. On the colour black: Black is nothingness without possibility, an eternal silence without hope, and corresponds with death.)  

17 comments:

am said...

Thanks so much for this post today and for the Wikipedia link. It is good to be reminded of Wassily Kandinsky's paintings and his book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Must be time to look at his work and read that book again. My art work in 1980s was strongly influenced by Kandinsky and was always done while listening to music.

am said...

P.S. I first heard of Kandinsky in 1967 when I began studying art in college. We referred to him as "our father who art in art."

(-:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I too am a Kandinsky fan.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I have that book too, it's revelatory. The artist as prophet!

Rachel Fox said...

I'm just watching the "Art of Russia" on TV (recorded from a while back). Fantastic programme. Made me want to go and visit a lot more of the country.
x

The Solitary Walker said...

I'd go there like a shot, Rachel, if I had the opportunity.

Rachel Fox said...

I went a couple of times when I was a student... only Moscow and Leningrad (as it was then) though. Still fantastic!
x

Suman said...

Thank you so much for this invigorating post and introducing me to Kandinsky. It couldn't have come at a better time, just when I was all set with my morning cuppa.
The definition of the colour black intrigues me - "an eternal silence without hope"..

Susan Scheid said...

Beautiful post--I am assuming the poem is yours, and it's lovely. Kandinsky's allusion to the interplay between music and art, and in particular the musical language of color, struck me particularly. I remember going to a wonderful Kandinsky exhibition in New York City and standing before a Kandinsky painting (Impression 3 (Concert)), which was inspired by Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 2. I was glad a friend had recommended the headset, for, as I looked at the painting, I could listen to the music that had inspired it. Cross-fertilization among the arts moves it all to yet another dimension--as your post does here, moving so elegantly between art and poetry.

George said...

Great post, Robert. I see from the other comments that you have read "Concerning the Spiritual in Art." It's a terrific book for both the artist and the non-artist (though I believe that everyone is an artist at some level). And, yes, get to Russia when you can. I haven't been to Moscow, but I spent a few days in St. Petersburg and it was phenomenal, especially the architecture and other works of art.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Suman...

Susan, yes the poem is mine. It's a Nouvelle 55: a poem of 55 words about a painting. We have a large, framed print of this painting on a bedroom wall. I suppose that two 20th century painters most well known for talking/ writing about the spiritual foundation of their work were Kandinsky and Rothko - and it's fascinating how completely differently that spirituality surfaces in their paintings: with Kandinsky often quite busy and brash, discordant even, and with Rothko meditatively serene. Do read that book by Kandinsky 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art' if you haven't done so already. I love that kind of cross-fertilisation, this boundary shifting, this synaesthesia you mention - and hope this may be one of the characteristics of my blog...

Thanks, George. I believe we talked briefly about Kandinsky on our Hadrian's Wall walk? It's hard to remember, as we talked of so many things..!

The Solitary Walker said...

PS Re. the poem, because some of the details in the painting are open to interpretation - could there be industrial as well as obviously rural/mountainous scenes depicted there? - I tried to mirror that ambiguity in the last few lines, hence 'rainbow bridge', 'tree-trunk chimneys', 'coal-black peaks'...

Susan Scheid said...

Ah, I see--I didn't realize Nouvelle 55 is a poetic form. Thanks for the FYI.

sunny said...

lovely post.

Ruth said...

I am happy to see you have written another Nouvelle 55! I must go after one soon. I am quite taken with yours, especially those cliffs as tall as longing.

Kandinksy is an inspiration to me; I didn't know about the book Concerning the Spiritual Art, thank you.

ksam said...

Wow. So much in such a short post. New poetic form, new color thoughts...excellent! As Suman commented..a lot to find when sitting with the morning cup! I'd have to say the biggest surprise was simply the comment regarding yellow. I personally think of it as peaceful, soothing...so to see the words aggressive and violence associated with it was quite a surprise. So, now to add the book on Spiritual and Art to the reading list. I'm gonna need another lifetime to read it all!

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Sunny, Ruth and Karin for dropping by. I understand what you mean about yellow, Karin, but certain tones can be very strident and glaring and, yes, even aggressive. Ultimately, however, this colour thing is very personal and subjective, I think.