Art may be subjective, but the talents of Capital students are indisputable. The Kandinsky Sketchbook exhibit at Capital University is not just for art lovers. The multimedia exhibit combines music and poetry to engage multiple senses and challenges the traditional role of a gallery. In the same breath, patrons can witness private-collection Kandinsky pieces, listen to student-composed pieces, and read poetry created specifically for each sketch.
Wassily Kandinsky is remembered as one of the first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting. During his childhood in Odessa, Ukraine, Kandinsky began drawing and experimenting with color, a passion that would continue throughout his life. Kandinsky’s work can be found all over the world, including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Lenbachhaus Gallery in Munich.
An exclusive collection of Kandinsky’s sketches can now be found at The Schumacher Gallery at Capital University. The Kandinsky Sketchbook exhibit, open until April 26, is on loan from Edward Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky lives in the Eastmoor area and has an expansive collection of avant-garde art.
Connected to Capital University though Dina Lentsner, Ph.D., professor of music theory and composition, the Kandinsky Sketchbook exhibit has only been shown a few select places such as Ukraine and Portugal.
“Art creates a different performance space for music,” said Lentsner. “With the NOW Festival, we like a multi-disciplinary approach to our events. We invited students in a creative writing course to create poetry and music technology students to create electronic music inspired by the art.”
When entering the gallery, patrons are not only able to witness Kandinsky’s art but are surrounded by the diverse talents of Capital students.
Ayaka Machimura, creative writing and music, wrote her poem “Alzheimer’s” specifically for the immersive exhibit.
“I’ve never written poetry based off a specific image, so that was really interesting,” said Machimura. “Since it was abstract, I was able to create my own thing.”
What started as a class project for Dalton Jones, music tech, gave him the opportunity to experiment with different types of music throughout this composition.
“If you listen to my piece, you will hear an unconventional noise throughout the entire thing. When I learned that the composition was going to be for the sketches, I immediately thought of using a program called SonicPhoto,” said Jones. “The program allows me to use an image and through some processing and reading it as a spectrograph, it will actually give a printout of a noise. The noise you hear throughout my composition is actually four different Kandinsky sketches.”
Theo Houser, music tech, focused on the gallery’s patrons and the sketches as he came up with different sounds for his composition.
“I sat at my piano with my laptop plugged in and just started coming up with different sounds,” said Houser. “I made this choir sound and it was very interesting. I really like that kind of ethereal sound and imagined the sketch as I created the piece.”
Reading her poetry in a public setting was especially exciting for Trinity Langbein, English literature, creative writing, and Spanish. The student composers and poets were invited to attend a reception at Schumacher Gallery on February 15.
“I was beyond happy to be selected, and the fact that it included a public reading was especially exciting,” said Langbein. “I want to go to graduate school for an MFA program in poetry. This was a big opportunity, in my eyes, because it was an opportunity to read my poem at a formal event. Just to have my poem up in a art gallery is more than I ever expected coming into college.”
While the first, the Kandinsky Sketchbook exhibit will hopefully not be the last immersive exhibit at Capital.
“I don’t think the museum’s role is just for art,” said David Gentilini, director of The Schumacher Gallery. “We’re here as a cultural institution for everyone.”
To learn about The Schumacher Gallery, go to https://www.capital.edu/news-and-events/arts-and-culture/schumacher-gallery/.
To learn more about Kandinsky’s art, go to https://www.theartstory.org/artist/kandinsky-wassily/.