Symphony

“Generally speaking, colour is a power which directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key to another, to cause vibrations in the soul.” (W. Kandinsky, 1911. Concerning the Spiritual in Art)

Wassily Kandinsky explored the boundaries between visual art and music and it is said he could see colours when hearing music. It is believed he had a rare, medical condition called Synesthesia, where one sense simultaneously triggers another sense. After hearing Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, Kandinsky writes: “I saw all my colors in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me” (W. Kandinsky, 1913, Reminiscences).

This painting, entitled Symphony, has drawn inspiration from Kandinsky’s love for music. The woman, perhaps a musician, has a tattoo on her back: an element from Kandinsky’s Composition VI (1913). It is this same piece that she is looking at, creating a symphony of colour in front of her. With her back to the viewer, her identity and emotions remain a mystery, yet she invites the viewer to share this moment with her. Perhaps, when looking at Kandinsky’s artwork, she hears music.