… This inner necessity must have been present, even if it was not absolutely crucial, for the artists mentioned above to have formed a group in order to develop new concepts together.
Returning to the issue of rhythm in painting, I would like to introduce some thoughts of the artist Oleskiy Koval at this point. For Koval, rhythm is only one of a number of characteristics of painting for him to get to grips with when applying paint to his surface medium. A successful piece of work includes other components besides the rhythm. However, the question of what exactly rhythm in painting is has never quite lost its hold on him. During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Koval was looking for a polarity in painting: I wanted to avoid spatial representations and instead reflect a discrepancy, in that the color remains on the surface while still achieving a visual sweep. In order not to lose myself when experimenting with the properties of colors, I was looking to organize the space to give myself a clear starting point and a recognizable conclusion while painting.
Two of Koval’s works will demonstrate his considerations on the subject of rhythm; Birds on a wire, a work that was created back in 2011, or Sublunary World from 2012. Koval developed a basic working pattern of dividing the surface into equal spaces while counting to himself. Such a meter not only strengthens concentration when making spontaneous decisions between creative events, but also brings about a conscious approach to the pace at which paints can be applied to surfaces. Parallel to the arrangement of the surface itself, Koval concentrated on the processes of his movement while painting. He conceived the point in time at which the paint touched the surface as a unit, which, taken in series, fused into rhythmic accents and so gave form to the application of paint.
Kandinsky’s views on the topic of rhythm in painting are also not far removed from the reflections of the contemporary artists featured here, although of course Kandinsky’s abandonment of the imitation of nature was at the forefront of his painting. Kandinsky commented: An artist who does not view the imitation of natural phenomena, even if in an artistic way, as an end in itself, but sees himself as a creator who wants and needs to express his inner world, looks with envy at how naturally and easily such goals as his are achieved by that least tangible art form of today – music. It is understandable that he should turn to music and try to find the same devices in his art. This explains painters’ current search for rhythm, for mathematical, abstract structure, today’s appreciation of color tone, the manner in which the paint is set in motion, etc. … (Wassily Kandinsky, Über das Geistige in der Kunst, insbesondere in der Malerei, Bern 2004, p. 58 f.)
Dr. Karin Wimmer
The Inner Necessity
RHYTHM & METHOD VOL. II
Galerie der Künstler, Munich