Hye Ja Moon’s ideal painting work- Mondrian and Matisse
(Soyoung Cho/Art critic )
Harmonielehre- (Artist Hye Ja Moon’s paintings and music)
*When visiting Artist Hye Ja Moon’s studio, I seemed to become a curious Alice in Wonderland where an emotional language and strict logical gestures are mixed and floating about. She remarked that she pursues after Mondrian’s composition and Matisse’s being loose. Above all, her paintings must be understood in accordance with the music being played during her work. Otherwise, we have to be satisfied with an appreciation only in half. In some ways, the music she listens to definitely has a certain connection with her artistic pursuit, “Mondrian to Matisse”. Therefore, the artist Hye Ja Moon’s works are to be explained according to such music as she has chosen recently first. Then, artist’s unraveled craft is to be paralleled with 12 musical scales theorized by Schoenberg, who is a pioneer of minimalist in music history, and plastic elements seen in the paintings by Mondrian and Matisse.
*I. The art works and music for Moon, Hye Ja
*Hye Ja Moon employs the title of her favorite music that has helped her to construct art works, not names them apart. Her recent works are named Harmonielehre, Composition, A singer Bjork and Heartbreak Wonderland as they all are the titles of contemporary music which the artist has got the motive for her works.
*Musical piece Harmonielehre was composed by John Adams in 1985. The name of composition stands for ‘study of harmony’ in German, which is a book written by Arnold Schoenberg. The music work gets the fame for combining Schoenberg’s harmonic principles with minimalism. Moon usually paints on a large canvas when listening to the musical piece Harmonielehre. It might be the reason because the musical piece is composed of three movements: the first movement begins with the minimalist style of Arnold Schoenberg. However, about half way through the movement diverts from the minimalism and the expressivity goes far from the formal minimalism. In other words, two different musical eras make a harmony in one piece of music. It is plausible that the artist would dream the rendezvous of two distinguished eras in art history, Mondrian and Matisse, through the music Harmonielehre.
*A Singer Bjork series were made while the artist listened to Bjork’s music. In 1979, Bjork released her first album with Exodus, a jazz fusion group and she has continued to adopt various musical forms to express the joy of life, lightness of being, and emotional sensations etc. using mystic modern electrical instruments to classical harp with her wanderer’s voice. Through the song the singer pours various sensations all at once. The Artist Moon, through A Singer Bjork series, tried to pour various sensations onto a canvas. That might be causing the works seem to be a little thicker in density of colors and brush strokes compared to other works. Both Bjork and World’s End Girlfriend lead the artist to a great journey towards the mystic world. The work Heart Break Wonderland series show the varied speed of brush strokes and different layers of colors with tension and looseness that help us to travel the world of colors.
*Heart Break Wonderland series are considered to show more various features among the artist’s recent works. A Japanese musician named Katsuhiko Maeda released Heart Break Wonderland in World’s End Girlfriend which has brought him a fame.
*II. Hye Ja Moon’s ideal painting work- Mondrian and Matisse
*It seems difficult to notice the harmony of Mondrian, who eliminated changing natural elements and extracted structural elements to express the real and completed neo-plasticism, and Matisse, who maximized the effect of intense colors through color contrast and represented Fauvism. However, through her works the artist Moon implies her own harmony which can be inferred to freely expressed paintings with principles. At first, the two principles that have been consistently applied to the artist’s works are those: principle one is a contrast color and two serial colors, principle two is background color and the original drawing must not be completely covered. She not only sticks to those principles but also expresses her inspiration with free and impromptu brush strokes and structure. In Harmonielehre by John Adams, such combinations of the two different eras in musical history are heard. However, apart from music paintings can only approach the given space to show all the stream of time in forms and contents.
*Hye Ja Moon adopted the above mentioned principles as the basic elements, and similarly Mondrian left the structural elements of vertical and horizontal lines to express the real. There are artist’s principles of one contrast color and two serial colors and not totally covering the background lying behind her bright and freely painted colors with pure tones. *A minimalist in music, Arnold Schoenberg(1874-1951) put forward to the principle that the 12 notes of the chromatic scale appear in a set to form a row as the unifying basis for a composition and he offered absolute equality to every musical note. Such minimal principle has a characteristic appearing in Moon’s: her second principle is to balance all the elements of painting such as background colors, drawn lines for sketch, and colors. She keeps the idea in her mind all the time even when she is charmed by music and indulged into her painting with her brush dancing on the canvas. She turns the corner of the canvas not to paint a spot excessively, and the self-restraint enhances the emotional entropy. She never forgets room for background color and the draft drawing so that all the elements could wiggle with the splendid colors on them. For the artist the background color, the draft drawing, and the surface colors are equal parts of the work. The artist Moon harmoniously put Mondrian and Matisse into her artistic wonderland through equally combining put full of emotion and plastic elements.