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Bach in Arts - Hommage a Bach

Memo-2563-2590

Type:

Bach Etchings

Title:

Fourteen folded Etchings on the interpretation of J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue

Description:

"The Art of Fugue is a still, serious world, deserted and rigid without color without light, without motion, it does not gladden, does not distract yet we cannot break away from it." (Albert Schweitzer)
Elizabeth Harington's colophonic interpretation of Bach's mighty Art of Fugue (BWV 1080) is a fascinating journey into the artist's mind and aesthetic sensibilities, both clearly formed by her remarkable history and artistic skills. The transformation of Bach's own autograph pages into circular, lens-like designs, each quite different, realizes in print-form an aspect of Bach's attempt to create symmetries in the structure of time. Harington is not concerned with the surface appearances of the fugues - - in Bach's language their sound - - but with their inner natures, the myriad relationships of their internal dimensions.
Defining the cycle as a search for the silence of death, she injects a sense of purpose into what might have been a more abstract endeavor. And while Bach had the misfortune to die while composing his final fugue - - which was clearly not part of the plan, as Bach tended not to leave his great projects unfinished - - Harington interprets his premature silence as the ultimate goal of Bach's search, and of hers.
Finally, the power of her work lies in her understanding that the eye, when stimulated, leads us to greater depths, the same service the ear performs for Bach; but appropriately, neither eye nor ear, though given gorgeous things to experience, are allowed final satisfaction here: as with Bach, Harington forces us, persuades us, convinces us to look for deeper and deeper truths. (Kenneth Cooper 2000 : Harpsichordist)

These folded prints are a complex evolving platform like a stage to experience the changes of a single musical theme. The two-sided print conveys on the one side Bach's original score collaged in the 4 inch centered square, with fourteen variations of a seven-pointed 2 inch wheel, while on the other side the print reflects the sequential transformation of each note through its transformation into the mirrored inversions and the chromatic progression to the final note sequence of Bach's signature theme - B-A-C-H.

Artist's Statement:
To comprehend Bach's inner quest for silence in his final creation was to visually grasp the music in his course towards death. The mood and intensity of Bach's faded days and black nights of six months he spent in a darkened room to improve his sight was the starting experience for my immersion in these scores. There were different approaches to graphically express this body of work. As I had not found the best approach through playing this composition, I needed to find something tangible and constant that could integrate this theme fourteen times. I became totally absorbed by the thematic progression in each fugue and made many attempts to analyze it. After two years, I had theorized the thematic progression as a post- and-lintel configuration. The vertical and horizontal lines of the first and fifth note in the music formed the pillars that supported the musical progression. The repetitive patterning of notes in each fugue also implied to me a deeper philosophical view. The theme existed in time and space as a cycle which like a moving wheel linked birth, the starting point of an evolving harmony, with death, the transformation of new life. Experiencing the sequence of notes to an extended existence, transforming the limitless extension of sound into silence I had attained the eternal within myself. Being in touch with this stilled center , like experiencing the unmoving axis of a moving wheel, I began to get a glimmer of the direction the etching would take. This entry theme of each fugue was held together by seven notes, concluding that the mystical number seven was the core of this revolving form. The focus now became to develop the concept of a seven - pointed rosette circle. I used the combination of seven equal lines extending inward from the circumference of a circle, crossing over each other and diminishing in size towards the center point of the circle, reflecting the beauty of proportion of the Golden Mean. I did a series of prints on this seven-pointed circle that evolved into an inner-spiraled vortex. (Elizabeth Harington)

Measures:

Creator:

Artist: Elizabeth Harington

Comments:

About the artist, see: Memo-2539

Buy item at:

See Source/Links below.

Source/Links: Colophon: The Art of Fugue - Elizabeth Harington | Elizabeth Harington Website
Contributor: Teddy Kaufman (January 2008)

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Last update: ýFebruary 3, 2008 ý00:28:29