Polyphonies | 2019 - 2021

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A Visible Overture


The performance is about to begin. Violinist Fan Yan holding the sheet music, imagined her fingering and bowing through the right wrist while reading the notes. It has been a transformation from visible symbols to audible sensations. There is no pretentiousness in the world of musicians, nor is there tangible clinging to reality.


Today painter Fan Yan has turned to interpret visual overtures with the textures of dots, colours, and brushstrokes. The subtleness of dots and the spontaneous spread of strokes meet, becoming a sound encounter between streams and rocks. The streams sometimes divide, sometimes splash. So how does a movement interpret itself with its points and lines and surfaces?


Beats and colours


Music is an art of time, where the beats characterise the rhythms by the repetitions of a sequence of stressed and unstressed – “Bang… Da, Da… Bang, Bang, Bang… Da, Da… Bang, Bang”. They spell the piece's personality and attract the audience to the pulsations who dance with their hands and feet.


Farewell to her music career, Fan Yan has never left the ambience of the music. She creates visual beats that are light or heavy, hidden or visible through folding and dyeing, multi-layered shading, and haloed tinting. The dark blue is the sea waves where white spindrifts burst wave after wave. The colours of spring fade like autumn leaves. The cycles of the rhythms in colours represent the world of phenomena and the order of worldliness filled with joys and sorrows.


Melodies and patterns


In the hustle and bustle world, the buzzing low pitch is irrelevant with the vibrant high pitch, until melody connects them into a piece of harmony. Waving his baton, the conductor transforms the sounds into a piece of music, where the instruments are positioned in the context. The bangs of percussion instruments arrive stronger and stronger from far to near, bringing the piece to its end through all the twists and turns.


Turning what is heard to tangible, Fan Yan’s works of art portray the visual melodies by the twists and turns of lines, the aggregation and scatter of patterns, folds, and spacings. The shading of blue and the tinting of the white accord connect the divide and evolve across the scale of blue from the sky blue to snowflake blue. The works of art tell us the secrets about the sky, or perhaps the story about our city of twinkling lights?


The unfinished coda


Literary critic Walter Pater says: “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music”.


The painting is as deep as the darkness of the sky with the time clicking and turning. The bolts, chains and pins are running in their places according to their designated trajectories, maintaining the endless principle of life in the universe. The painting is still, waiting for a lightening up by the encounter with temporality to realise their inner order.


Music is after all temporary, unlike the visual footprints turned by Fan Yan. In turn, these dyes and collages resonate and give the works of art their rhythms and melodies. While the performance comes to the end, the sounds of paintings never vanish, leaving it to the audience to interpret their imagined world of both visible and audible.




















文學批評家 Walter Pater 說﹕「所有形式的藝術一直追求音樂的境界」。