SOME EXAMPLES OF EVA HUBATOVÁ’S PHOTOINFORMELS FEATURING MUSICAL SYMBOLISM

Doc. Jiří Bezděk, Ph.D. /CZ/ - composer, theorist, teacher, Plzeň University

Doc. Jiří Bezděk, Ph.D. /CZ/ - composer, theorist, teacher, Plzeň University

Some Examples of Eva Hubatová’s Photoinformels Featuring Musical Symbolism

Abstract

 

The new technique of PHOTOINFORMEL was discovered by Bc. Eva Hubatová, who received a registered trademark for it from the Industrial Property Office. The technique is based on digital modification of photographs. The author often performs this transformation on photographs of shabby walls or tarnished metal objects. This gives origin to abstract pieces of art in which Doc. Jiří Bezděk, a music composer, theoretician, and publicist, discovered musical symbolism. Using examples, he documents the analogies from the area of musical structuring, semantics, interpretation, music styles or even specific musical pieces and musical acoustics.

 

Key words: Photoinformel, trademark, fine art, music, hermeneutics

 

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   Eva Hubatová, an art photographer, fine artist, and journalist weaves her imagination into photographs of seemingly meaningless several-inch details of damaged walls or shabby spots, turning them into unique abstract pieces of art using computer techniques. She also experiments with metal object details and various other materials showing the signs of tarnishing. For her original artistic technique interconnecting photography and painting, she chose an adequate name - PHOTOINFORMEL[1].

   Eva Hubatová’s photoinformels give origin to shape and colour abstractions (often enhanced by unusual materials[2]) bearing symbolical nature, for example for the environment of contemporary classical music. These are not, in any case, the so-called musical fine art, which uses musical notation for purely aesthetic purposes[3]. The work of Eva Hubatová is “intrinsically” musical – through the synergy of everything that appears in her images. This is caused by the co-effect of contrasts and unifying means[4], as well as the facture, rhythm, instrumentation, and other elements of primarily musical expression[5].

Examples of Eva Hubatová’s works of “musical” nature:

a) the area of musical structuring

Image 1

Labyrinth of Tones

The artist called this piece Labyrinth of Tones. Tones are routes of colours for her, which seem unpredictable here. Therefore, not a single colour flow is the same. The colours, however, repeat, although in different contexts. And this is also true for musical tones. We shall understand the image, as with music, once we start associating the tones (here the flows) into larger wholes, and start erceiving the image in its aggregate form. It comprises movement and still, identity and contrast; and these form the driving force of the musical development of a good musical composition.

Image 2

Musical Evolution

Exposition and evolution are musical principles crucial for any musical development. Exposition is the presentation of a piece of music; evolution is then its development[6]. To be enable the listeners to orientate in the music (should they want so), the composer has to choose only a small number of themes on which he/she then performs the process of development. This also happens in the image. On the green background, the development of the multiplied black and red lines takes place. Their multiplication may be understood as the variety of the course of development, as interesting work with themes. This work may be done in one line, or in several lines concurrently in passing time. In this sense, much is taking place in the image.

Image 3

Theme and Variations

The composition of this form has always a firmly set theme which are usually modified in such a manner, that the individual variants gradually diverge – to the point where the original theme sometimes entirely disappears. The individual variations relate not only to the theme, as they create further relations among themselves, not only based on proximity but also for a distance. The image transparently expresses this structure of theme – variation relations if we view it as an avalanche-like process running from the left bottom corner to the opposite one.

Image 4

Polyphony

The image stimulates the vision of powerful flows – homogenous lines existing independently as well as coexisting with parallel flows. This is a metaphor of musical polyphony. Polyphony creates harmony given by the sum of parts at each moment of their syntony. In the image, it is represented by a uniform, only slightly shaded colour. The individual winding broad lines entangle in many places. Similar situation is in polyphony which is not always rigid either. The image, as polyphony, has its development, given not only by the development of the individual lines, but also of the whole.

Image 5

Duo

Duo is a composition played by two musicians, however, it may be a composition for two voices performed by a single player (e.g. on a piano). The image depicts two characters in the top. Their close contact indicates that they form a harmonizing duo. Their parts under them develop through differing shapes, however, they eventually join into one flow. The fact that they are not artificially separated from each other in the image expresses their close relation. They become complementary. The parts complement each other to become a whole.

 

b) the area of musical semantics[7]

 

Image 6

Cobweb

The title of the piece may not relate to music, however, the delicacy of the red fibres may evoke the modern environment of bowed instrument timbre which is not systemized by classical notation, but rather aleatoric (based on controlled improvisation of a musician). The red colour brings dramatic, even brutal content. It reminds of the poetics of Krzystof Penderecki’s[8] Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for 52 bows.

c) the area of musical interpretation

Image 7

Brilliance

Brilliance presents the radiation of a virtuoso’s mastery towards the audience. It dazzles with the swiftness of some passages and the flawlessness of the performance. The unclear beams of the image capture the elusiveness of a musical virtuoso’s movements.

Image 8

Lontano

The word Lontano means “as if in an echo” (from It.). The sound is then less clear, sometimes disappearing: a composition which had a firm shape in the original acoustic sound gets deformed by the echo. We may, too, conjecture firm shapes in the image, such as a view of a mountain range from above, but the defocusing prevents us from identifying the landscape in detail.

d) the area of musical styles

Image 9

Verism

A verist opera always presents death and scorching love, hatred and murderous jealousy. In this image, too, we may see a stream of blood. It forms the strongest flow. Its shape seems to influence the thinner lines. The acting characters of the most typical operas act in a similar way, as seen in Rugierro Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (1892), Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni (1890), and especially in Georges Bizet’s Carmen (1875). Blood and death becomes the solution of the presented conflict.

e) individual compositions

Image 10

Surface

For the composer Jiří Bezděk, the image Surface became a reminder of his own composition Inspired by the Silver Brightness (three movements for accordion and cello in the style of minimal music). The author characterizes the connection between the image and the composition as follows: “the waves of the Berounka river on one morning brought me to a minimalist composition depicting their subtle ripple and the brightness of the sun reflecting in the river. The light tinges of the image deepen the vision of water and its movement, with stones on the riverbed showing through the water at the same time. The composition, in its second movement, creates a special virtual instrument originating from the combination of some special accordion registers with harmonics played on the cello. The image, too, employs an unorthodox play of shapes and colours”.

Image 11

Jiří Bezděk: The Confession of a Marathon Runner (a single-movement sonata for harpsichord)

The image was inspired by listening to the composition “The Confession of a Marathon Runner”. The name is a metaphor of a people consistent in their principles, persistent and reliable in the personal life or work. Both the sonata and the image pay a tribute to such people. The life journey of such people, however, is not easy. Thus those, who overcome all adversities and do not give in to cheap lures of anybody and anything, are rather few.

Image 12

Water Music

Water Music is one of the most famous works of Georg Friedrich Händel (HWV 348-350). The Great Master is suggested behind the water surface rippled by subtle waves that are almost permanently present in this composition. The waves are styled into the shape of laurel twigs. Both the image and its musical model undoubtedly deserve one.

f) the area of musical acoustics

Image 13

Vibrations

 

Vibrations are movements of elastic objects or environments which may demonstrate as sounds. Musical frequencies (tonal) have regular waveforms, while frequencies of atonal sounds do not show such a schematic progression. The image shows winding lines, tending toward the waveform of both periodical and non-periodical progression. The colour harmonies develop from light values in the lower part to darker ones in the upper part. Thus, the image, also, shows a musical progression. We have to be aware that modern music comprises both periodical and non-periodical acoustic processes. In present days, the boundary between musical and non-musical sounds is very fragile.

Image 14

Musical frequencies

The image in fact depicts a variety of acoustic processes accompanying the origin of a tuned musical tone. It consists of many elementary processes, e.g. so-called higher harmonics, or other additional sounds accompanying the creation of sound on an instrument.

Conclusion

Music and fine art have their common factors, but also crucial difference. The biggest difference grows from the static nature of the fine art versus the development of musical pieces in the flow of time. The photoinformels of Eva Hubatová make us sense action, a metaphor of movement from one point to another. Thus, she comes closer to the strict tie of music to time. Many Eva Hubatová’s works also create the feeling of tridimensionality, as can music working with time, height and width (e.g. via orchestration). The metaphors of Eva Hubatová’s artistic expression expand deep into the realm of music. The evidence of that is the existence of many common points in the area of musical structuring, semantics, interpretation, styles, or individual works, and musical acoustics. Thus, Eva Hubatová follows a direction in her work which brings the spheres of artistic sounds and means of visual arts still closer together.

References:

BEZDĚK, Jiří. Soudobá hudba před tabulí. 1st ed. Pilsen: FPE ZČU, 2008. ISBN 978-80-7043-669-1.

BEZDĚK, Jiří. Vztah hudby a výtvarného umění z hlediska skladatele soudobé vážné hudby. In : Jiří Patera 1924 – 2003. Pilsen: Gallery of West Bohemia and UVU, 2004. p. 51-54. ISBN: 80-86415-34-1.

HUBATOVÁ, EVA. FOTOGRAFICKÝ INFORMEL. Pilsen. Studio Um, 2008.

HUBATOVÁ, Eva. Fotoinformel. Pilsen: Studio Ulm, 2009.

HUBATOVÁ, Eva. Touha duše. 1st ed. Pilsen: Studio Ulm, 2011.

HUBATOVÁ, Eva. Fotoinformel 5. 1st ed. Pilsen: Dragon Print, 2013. ISBN 978-80-260-4373-7.

JANEČEK, Karel. Hudební formy. 1st ed. Prague: SNKLHU, 1955.

JANEČEK, Karel. Tektonika. 1st ed. Prague - Bratislava: Supraphon, 1968.

JIRÁNEK, Jaroslav. Asafjevova teorie intonace, její geneze a význam. 1st ed. Prague: Academia, 1967.

TROJAN, Jan. Dějiny opery. 1st ed. Prague: Paseka, 2001. ISBN 80-7185-348-8.

SMOLKA, Jaroslav. A KOLEKTIV. Dějiny hudby. 1st ed. Brno: TOGGA ve spolupráci s Českým hudebním fondem, o.p.s., 2001. ISBN 80-902-912-0-1.

ZICH, Jaroslav. Kapitoly a studie z hudební estetiky. 1st ed. Prague: Supraphon, 1975.

ZICH, Otakar. Estetika dramatického umění : teoretická dramaturgie. 1st ed. Prague: Melantrich, 1931.

 

 

[1] Eva Hubatová received a registered trademark, and as per art. 28, par. 1 of Act No. 441/2003 of the coll., in full wording, and on 1st January, 2014 she was recorded into the register under No. 335278

[2] Such as metal background of the artistic act

[3] See further BEZDĚK, Jiří. Soudobá hudba před tabulí. 1st ed. Pilsen: FPE ZČU, 2008. ISBN 978-80-7043-669-1. Podkap.3.3.6

[4] Here in the sense JANEČEK, Karel. Tektonika. 1st ed. Prague - Bratislava: Supraphon, 1968. Chapter V.

[5] Detailed explanation of terms e.g. JANEČEK, Karel. Hudební formy. 1st ed. Prague: SNKLHU, 1955.

[6] In greater detail JANEČEK, Karel. Tektonika. 1st ed. Prague - Bratislava: Supraphon, 1968. Chapter IV.

[7] Musical semantics explores the meaning in music

[8] Further see BEZDĚK, Jiří. Soudobá hudba před tabulí. 1st ed. Pilsen: FPE ZČU, 2008. ISBN 978-80-7043-669-1. Subchapter 4.6

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