If we could see music, what would it look like? John Aslanidis probably takes us closest to the answer of this question. He has travelled a unique path with his paintings, which he exhibits internationally, exploring the sensation of sound fixed within another medium
– and, specifically, of electronic music.
The viewer experiences the sensuous ripples and overlapping rings of colour that travel across the canvas, bouncing against each other and folding back across the picture plain, as music and sound vibrate through space. We see both shallow and deep spaces evoked, so that we are subsumed by the experience of looking. When we stand before an Aslanidis painting we can almost experience them as sounds, which the colours suggest in our subconscious. This kind of synesthesia has been commonly remarked upon by viewers of his paintings.
Wassiliy Kandinsky, working at the dawn of the C20th, was one of the first artists to attempt to move across boundaries between visual art and sound/music, and he developed an almost scientific approach to colour, shape, form and volume. He claimed that he could ‘hear’ musical chords as he painted; he said that “yellow is the colour of middle C on a brassy trumpet.”
Aslanidis has developed much less subjective, and, arguably, more inclusive and generous inroads into a related area of exploration. It is not necessary for the viewer to learn Kandinsky’s programmatic colour theory. With Aslanidis’ paintings the viewer is swept up into the maelstrom of colour and sound and rhythm and vibration, automatically, without having to over-process it. The paintings just exist and we become a part of them, simply by standing in front of them.