This week I’ve visited the Blanca Soto gallery, where art has taken part of the Barrio de las Letras de Madrid. There, the artist Juan Manuel Ciria breaks the gallery’s walls and exhibits his work full of colored spots on the streets. He baptized this explosion of color Ataraxia. The artist tells us what he tries to explain with his work: “Ataraxia is the absence of disturbance. A state of serenity and tranquility. An order of balance without perturbation, in correspondence with reason, feelings, and the soul. It’s to achieve freedom and tranquility by getting away from material banalities, external fortune, dedicating ourselves to a life guided by the principles of reason and virtue.”
The Pure Expression of Color
Through spots of color, Ciria expresses his feelings to us: When he exhibits his works in an outdoor environment, the light changes its vibrations and magic happens, the color possesses us. The color, however, isn’t tangible, but rather a sensation that produces an inner sound that depends on the type of light perception each one of us has.
Kandinsky explains that “color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings.” Artists, especially after the XX century -and particularly in Bauhaus-, have investigated this connection between color and sound, this feeling is called synesthesia. The Oxford Dictionary defines synesthesia as: “The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.” This happens when you see a color and you get to feel or hear its vibration.
Art Is Not Seen with the Eyes, but with the Mind
I see the sky through Ciria’s canvas painted with spots. With the light’s vibration, colors start to play music, a visual music. The canvas comes to life with the clouds’ movement. The artist makes me a collaborator in the adventure of his work’s creation. From reading his canvas filled with poetry, a harmonic vibration that makes music flow is born from its spots and color. And that music is only heard inside me. The perception of a work of art, the sensory experience, depends on the sensitivity, culture, spiritual and intelectual concerns of the spectator; and thus, it always stirs up something different in each of us. It’s like Duchamp said: “Against every opinion, it’s not the painter but the viewer who makes the work.”
The Melody of Color
After visiting Ciria’s work, we’ll talk about the sensations it stirs up in us as we see the blue sky and the clouds moving through the spots of color in his canvases. In our experimentation table, we’ll have acrylics, paper, paint brushes of different sizes, and a music player. We’ll hear different melodies, with different rhythms and styles, and then we’ll translate them into color. We’ll spot the paper by choosing the colors transmitted to us through what we hear. We’ll paint music and each one of us will create our own color theory. After that, we’ll make a small exhibition of our work and we’ll talk about the sensations each color makes us feel and what has been awoken inside us by hearing different types of music. I invite you to let yourself be inspired by our experimentation and try it at home, are you up to develop your own color theory?