By Lexie Ma, Sam Ng and Helen Yau
Dozens of paintings hang perpendicular to a flat wall, like the splayed pages of a book. Each contains a musical score, superimposed with a child’s watercolor paintings. The scores belonged to the father of Thai artist Thitiphorn Kotham, and the watercolors are hers from childhood. Kotham created the work as a way to reach out to her father, a musician who died when she was three.
Kotham’s work Moon Spell in Summer is part of an exhibition called Notating Beauty That Moves, assembled by Hong Kong composer Samson Young and independent curator Yang Yeung. The exhibition at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place features music-related visual art shown in conjunction with a series of 13 concerts ranging from classical to avant-garde, performed by members of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the acclaimed Australian group Ensemble Offspring.
Scores from composers including John Cage and Anestis Logothetis are on display, as well as drawings, photography, paintings, texts and videos from various artists exploring the intersection between visual art and music.
When Young first suggested the idea of the exhibition to Yeung a year ago, “I immediately had the hand video of Hiromi Miyakita in mind,” Yeung said, referring to the Japanese dancer and choreographer known for her improvised works that respond to the environment in which they are performed.
The exhibition takes place in a round space comprised of an amphitheater set inside a larger room with the paintings hung on the surrounding wall. “The space is organized this way such that if visitors come in when a performance is ongoing, they can go through the outer ring and sit at the table to touch and flip through the scores while enjoying the music,” Young said.
“I may not hear music from the musical scores, but they are beautiful objects,” Yeung said. “They are very complex and precise as well.”
To the curators, musical notations represent “a world of beauty which may be universally accessed, seen, and felt,” as with Kotham’s connection to her father’s old scores.
Young, a sound artist as well as a composer, said he crosses into various artistic fields spontaneously. “It’s not like I set out to cross into different genres,” he said. “It’s just that I’m curious, I guess.”
The exhibition runs from March 3rd to March 29th, 2018, at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place. Check https://hksl.org/concert/hong-kong-sinfonietta-artistree-residency/ for performance times. Admission is free.
This story is published as part of CJC Fellowship 2018 with the support from Swire Properties’ ArtisTree at Taikoo Place and MG Interactive.