November 2011 the Barnard Gallery presented an exhibition of visual music by the internationally acclaimed artist, Felix Anaut.
Having experienced the civil war in Spain and ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland, Anaut’s diverse and often tumultuous life has been accompanied by an insatiable passion for art in all its manifestations.
Now based in South-West France, his prodigious and eclectic oeuvre includes paintings, installations, sculpture and ceramics. His imagery has been influenced by classical and Baroque figurative painting, ancient calligraphy and abstraction; as well as the art of Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky.
It is particularly the latter who has influenced his recent works, which explore the synaesthetic relationship between sound, stroke and colour. Like Kandinsky – the influential Russan Expressionist artist – Anaut has produced epic abstract works in which colour is identified with sound.
The notion that music is linked to visual art harks back to ancient Greece, when Plato first spoke of tone and harmony in relation to art. But music – unlike the traditional visual arts – expresses itself through sound and time. It allows the listener the freedom of imagination, interpretation, and emotional response that is not based on the literal or the descriptive, but rather on the abstract quality that painting, still dependent on representing the visible world, usually cannot.
Anaut, however, has succeeded in transcending this limitation. His installations include studies of musical notation, instruments, musical structures and the emotional symbolism of colour. From his visual music installations have emerged arias, opuses and symphonies specially composed for the works, there by completing Anaut’s synaesthetic homage to life, love and creativity.