Suspended Music
by Johannes Kreidler (2013)

The reduction of the motif to elementary geometric forms such as circles and rectangles – this visual strategy changed vision in the 20th century from cubism to logo design. But what if those basic forms are drawn from another sign system that creates its own aesthetic sphere: the notes of music? Johannes Kreidler, originally a musician, recognized the poly-aesthetics of musical notation and developed it into his own pictorial language. „All of a sudden, I no longer only read notes, but also saw them – I saw them almost twice: once as symbols of music, but at the same time as independent pictorial building blocks. With notes I can not only write music, but also objects, events, words and thoughts“.

Like the score of a piece of music, Kreidler designs his canvas-printed pictures. Above in the middle the title, below the notes. For a veritable piece of music, however, there are very few notes, especially since essential information such as time and tempo, volume, clef or instrumentation are usually missing – these compositions cannot be played. Rather, they convey the aura of sound and allow the viewer to imagine music. At the same time, other, non-musical references arise. The notes stand at the border between figure and abstraction, they form direct or associative relations to the designated title and have their own sensual effect. This constellation of visual / linguistic / musical aesthetics draws the observer through minimalistic concentration into a swirl of perception. At the same time, wit and immediate beauty seem to emerge from the notations.

„This tulip of which I am speaking and which I replace in speaking.“ (Derrida, The Truth in Painting) Kreidler’s works can be interpreted as a movement of displacement: The subject is replaced by the title, which is replaced by the picture of which it is a part, which is again replaced by the dimension that points out of the picture.

As strict as the form is adhered to in the canvas works and appears uniform on the surface, so individually does Kreidler create a strategy of reference in every picture. These can be literal depictions of well-known subjects (Sunset), associative stimuli through exaggerated punctuation (Aura), this can be an imaginary sound event (Memorial), an ironic commentary on a simple process (Effect), a pseudo song lyrics (you) or a more abstract ensemble (I knew it) – the vocabulary always creates individual cases.

Here the threads of the Notations of John Cage, conceptual painting, minimalism and hard edge come together in a very special form. Further expressions are then the photos with sheet music, films with notation miniatures as quasi subtitles for deaf people and slideshow installations with real music, bank notes extended by notes, art historical classics such as L’Origin du Monde dissolved into notation elements and performances with PowerPoint slides. Kreidler consistently implements the aesthetics of Sheet Music as a stylistic principle in various media and forms of presentation.