Yevgeny Feldmann’s fusion of music and art

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Yevgeny Feldmann is currently presenting his artworks for the exhibition “Bewegungsform Farbe” at the Full Moon Gallery. His artistic works merge his long-standing connection to music and his passion for painting. The exhibition can be seen at the Full Moon Gallery until the 23rd of March. In this interview, Feldmann talks about his precise work, the combination of music and art, and his creative inspirations. 


How did your connection to art develop?


I first started painting watercolours. I then tried out several things. At first, I read a lot of books. Then I started with ink drawings, pencil, charcoal, and pastel drawings. Eventually, I discovered colours for myself. Watercolours and acrylic paints. Over time, I became more and more aware that many artists paint with oil colours on canvas. And I wanted to try that out too. Funnily enough, it’s very easy. Try to paint over watercolour and the work is ruined. With oil colours, everyone is an artist. You can paint, you are free to do what you want and that is the art of it.

My ‘fetish’ is – very old-fashioned – oil paints, brushes and canvases. I have friends who paint without brushes, more minimally, but personally,  this is not enough for me. Painting is like music – not too little, then it’s not credible. My works are above all elaborate. They might look very spontaneous, but in reality, there is detailed work behind the supposed improvisation, which I particularly enjoy.

You have been a pianist at the Semperoper since 1996 – how does this special connection to music permeate your art?


I’m very close to the music – no, I’m in the music! I listen to so much music, I basically always wear my headphones. I’m passionate about a lot of different music, different centuries, and different composers.

For me, the connection between painting and music is that both are so intangible that I can hardly describe it.

But what is particularly important in music and art, as the artist Jonathan Meese described it: Art is a dictatorship. That sounds strange at first because art is above all freedom. We operate in an abstract world. But I also believe that it is a dictatorship. In the sense of an internal dictatorship. This inner dictatorship helped me to paint in the first place. As an artist, you have to be very organised and have a great deal of self-discipline.


Is your painting process also based on precise organisation?


You can’t plan painting, but you can plan the process. I don’t work with children’s colours, but with oil paints, canvases, and various painting materials. It all has to be placed. It smells, it stinks, it has to have its special place. You have to spread it out, you have to start painting. I’m currently painting in the studio of a good friend of mine. You have a lot of space there, you can also paint outdoors, which helps me. You can’t start anything without discipline. The dictatorship of art must always remain in place.

I don’t sit and wait for inspiration. Inspiration comes with the work or you prepare for this inspiration. Perhaps spontaneous inspiration comes after many years, but you have to be relaxed and have a lot of free time.


What role does music play in your painting process?


Unfortunately, I hardly ever listen to music when I paint. Sadly, I don’t have that option. You can of course paint with headphones, but I prefer to have it in the background. I find listening to music helpful, but I don’t do it. When I paint, there are always lots of sounds – my brushes, my conversations – but unfortunately no music. However, music influences processes. I especially mean strong music that expresses strong emotions.


How would you describe the design of your works? Do you hope to evoke something specific in the viewer?


My motifs are abstract, because I think abstractly. I realise that people can’t recognise my thoughts in my paintings, that’s impossible. But I don’t need that either. I can say quite openly that everything I paint is very egotistical. It’s all about me. Everything on the canvas is me, purely me. That is my creative background, I speculate that all painters intend the same thing.

I want, and I hope, that the people in my works coordinate this with themselves, and project it onto themselves. Everyone should feel something of their own in the paintings, just for themselves. That is art.

And if they don’t feel anything, then bad luck. Your inner voice and especially your first impression don’t lie. You shouldn’t think about it, or brood over it; it has to happen spontaneously. If they see something personal, feel emotions, and think about themselves, then I have won as an artist.