Joan Key 

Evening Performance 

7 to 8pm, 6 April 2001

Lore Lixenberg - voice, Anton Lukoszevieze - cello
Music drawn by Joan Key in collaboration with Christopher Mansell

"Over a period of two years, I worked with the cellist Christopher Mansell using an exchange of drawings and improvisation to produce a series of musical texts. These were thought of as a hybrid possibility: between literal text and musical text, as compositional ideas for painting. The fusion of the sounds of letters and those of notes has led to further work with Lore Lixenberg in developing the music as songs which relate to textual themes that existed in my paintings.

In performance, the music from the paintings retains a trace of substance: the paintings' minimal involvements with surface edge, layering, and with slight shifts and variations in appearance as repetitions occur. However there are tensions: the absorption of the eye in a visual sensation does not necessarily correspond to durational absorption in an audible sensation; also the inertia of the silence of paintings bears no relation to the dynamic silences of music.

Music as motif for painting emphasises the event-ness of visuality. To use painting or drawing as music counters the nostalgic aspiration that they can 'capture' a moment in time, by shifting the terms of how they will be remembered. When reading musical notation, as the image of each note is seen then played, its visible sign disappears into an acoustic memory, or thought, of how the note sounds. Seeing music as surface but thinking of its sound poses a question, for the viewer - of whether the memory of that surface will be visual or aural. The aural memory creates different narratives for the values of painting's visibility."

Joan Key, March 2001

Joan Key pursues these ideas in an essay on Anton Lukoszevieze's work with Jayne Parker, in Jayne Parker, Filmworks 79-00, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, 2000.

Work from the collaboration with Christopher Mansell was shown in British Art Show 5.