Walking into the Tate Modern, I had low expectations for what I felt I would resonate with while moseying about. Not to say that I wasn’t intrigued beforehand, but unlike Kimberly, this is not the type of art I am artistic with. I am a self-titled ‘Artist’ as well but more of a musician instead. Music has been a huge part of my life ever since I began taking piano lessons at the prime age of 5 years old. Initially feeling lost amongst the art, I eventually came across two paintings that struck a chord with me.
The two pieces of art I came across that I felt spoke to me were Georges Braque’s La Mandore and Jesus Soto’s Cardinal. La Mandore displays a lute with surrounding reverberations in the cubist style. The plaque corresponding to La Mandore exhibits that, “Its fragmented style suggests a sense of rhythm and acoustic reverberations that match the musical subject”. In this piece, the shapes encompassing the abstract lute are the various notes and rhythms being played on the lute represented in a physical form. In Cardinal, the artist wanted to create the feeling of movement. Although a picture doesn’t do it justice, the model visually seems to vibrate as you move around it. The striped background and depth between the sculpture and the wall behind it visually creates the appearance of vibration.
In the informational plaque next to Soto’s Cardinal, it reads that, “he set out to make paintings that appeared to move”. While Cardinal is not explicitly intended to be a representation of music, music in itself is the creation of vibrations within a specifically designed environment in order to facilitate the sound. A trumpet does not create the sound produced by the musician, it is merely an amplifier for the vibrations produced by the player’s lips buzzing into a mouthpiece. These waves produced can then be interpreted as music.
The viewer can experience different music through each of these interpretations of vibrations. The fragments scattered amongst the lute in La Mandore can be interpreted as the plucks of the player coming together to create a musical phrase. This can be seen in La Mandore where the cubism is mostly centered around the lute, but as they move outward they begin to blend, much like how individual notes come together to create music. In the second piece, the viewer might be able to interpret a growing drum roll with which is mostly felt, rather than just heard. Percussion is less about pitch and more about the feel of the vibrations accompanying whatever it is playing alongside. The overwhelming sense of vibration given off by the piece can be interpreted as bass like and the floating pieces of wood could literally be represented as drumsticks. Although it was not intended by Jesus Soto to create a representation of music as a model much like how George Braque’s did, he succeeded in both because music is just the movement of vibrations through the use of an instrument.
Links to the informational pages about these pieces below: