Oleksiy Koval, “11123”, 2012, 70 x 67 cm, marker on polyester. Photo © Klaus Mauz
Oleksiy Koval, “11123”, 2012, 70 x 67 cm, marker on polyester. Photo © Klaus Mauz

October 28, 2011 Oleksiy Koval invited me to participate in an exhibition involving music and painting. To be sure, music and painting projects have been presented many times throughout thousands of years. However, this particular collaboration was to focus on rhythm.

But what does this mean? It is clear what rhythm can be in musical terms, but not so clear in the discipline of painting. Through correspondences and meetings, I discussed these concepts with Oleksiy, and we found that we had many ideas in common.

I have always been drawn to creating music based on analogies with the natural world, and although Oleksiy’s ideas may not be this exactly, in my opinion some kind of analogies do exist in his work, or maybe I create them in my mind when viewing his paintings. However, this is not much different from the listener of music, where the sounds also stimulate the imaginations of individual audience members to create different visual fantasies in each person.

So, my own relationship to Oleksiy’s paintings are based on my own internal creations, stimulated by the shapes and colors in the paintings. And for me, there is rhythm in the placement, arrangement and relationship of these visual elements, just as rhythm in music is the same with sonic elements.

Music is a dynamic art, meaning it is always moving. The final result of a painting is not moving except in the mind of the viewer (or more precisely, it is not moving relative to the viewer). But there is also the rhythm in the act of painting, i.e., the rhythm of the gestures and technique that produce the painting, which is in motion. And, similar to music, through these gestures, ideas of meter, tempo, pulse relationships, etc., can be explored.

It’s in these areas that rhythm ideas can be explored through a kind of cross-discipline ensemble of musicians and painters. My most recent recording explores musical analogies of the biological rhythms of the human body. Several of Oleksiy’s paintings remind me of the themes that I have been exploring. Since we are ourselves a manifestation of Nature, any of our activities will in some way be connected to these natural rhythms. However, when a person is aware of their connection to Nature, then the rhythmic gestures of both the sonic and visual artists is in better alignment to the rhythms of Nature.

These are some of the thoughts and impressions that I feel, and that run through my mind while I am viewing Oleksiy’s paintings. From my point of view, these paintings can, similar to music, trigger an initial environment of mind and emotion, which can act as the substrate for the experience of an expanded awareness of the connection of all rhythmic activity.

Steve Coleman
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, January 15, 2013

Steve Coleman, Oleksiy Koval, Lothringer 13 Halle, Munich 2016. Photo © Jörg Koopmann

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