Vedran Ružić


Sound visualization by Vedran Ružić

Vedran Ružić is a jazz musician and painter. He received his musical education at the Jazz Conservatory in Klagenfurt, and graduated in painting from the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka. Both music and visual arts are fundamental of Ružić’s artistic disciplines, hence the parallelism and synthesis of painting and musical forms of media expression, work on projects to unify the media, their synthesis or transition from one artistic field and system to another.
Richard Wagner’s music is the starting point of the presented painting cycle, as suggested in the title of the exhibition. On the other hand, for Ružić’s intermedia work in general, Wagner’s idea of ​​an overall work of art is of special importance. Namely, in the middle of the 19th century, Wagner introduced the idea of ​​a total or complete work of art, ie gesamtkunstwerk, into European culture and art. The idea of ​​a comprehensive work of art refers to the aspiration to synthesize various media and artistic disciplines, the practice of combining different types of art – poetry, music, dance and visual art into a new and unique work of art to enhance sensory awareness in the audience, but also with the intention and the influence of technological progress, and for the return of man to his own naturalness and the attainment of a more immediate experience of art.
The idea is further connected with the research of synesthetic qualities introduced into the art of modern abstract painting at the beginning of the last century by Vasily Kandinsky, dealing with the correlations and synesthesia of sound, form and color, as well as the process and strategy represented by Ružić in his artistic expression and vocabulary. to which the sensory-expressive level of music is the starting point for creating an abstract cycle of images of accentuated color.
Ružić’s cycle of paintings entitled Wagner has been created over the past two years, more precisely from September 2018 to the beginning of 2020. The theme of the cycle is a musical motif from Wagner’s tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung, which became the starting point for the visual articulation of the associated musical sections. In constituting the visual events and coloristic effects of the display, the author’s personal psychological states additionally participate, written on canvases and carried by experiences during a residency in Berlin and encouraged by the experience of listening to Wagner’s music while hiking in the Himalayas.
There are two levels of understanding of music that are inscribed in painting events on canvas. On the one hand, there is music from which the libretto is reduced and its mythological content is immanent, on the other hand, in the space of the emptied mythological narrative, Ružić situates a painterly vision of Wagner’s musical atmosphere. The latter is deeply connected and rooted in the aspiration to transpose and write the internal content and express one’s own subjectivity with an automatic painterly expression, from the source of the inner created experience. Sensory activation results from the synesthetic connection of sound and color; resonances of rhythm and strokes, tonality of color and music, emotional and experiential stimuli. Expressions of feelings of instinct, aspiration, hesitation, glorification and cleavage, eruptions of emotions and strength are shaped into layered surfaces of images in which light-color painting sequences are created in correlation and according to the dictates of color sections of music.
In other words, regardless of the content and rhetorical leitmotif of Wagner’s work, which is sometimes evoked in the titles of individual paintings (Siegfried’s Death, The Ring of the Nibelung), in romantic sensitivity and sensibility Ružić finds space for the projection of his own memories and feelings, ie direct, personal and private experience. expressed by pictorial means. Therefore, we are talking about the identification or identification of the author with the temperament of the main protagonist, where the discourse of music is the starting point for the establishment of the identification process. The appropriation or appropriation process, which is almost a fundamental strategy in the art of postmodernism, is manifested here by the transformation, painterly representation, and labeling of Wagner’s music and theoretical ideas, in the context of their recomposition into their own artistic language.

Ultimately, the result is abstract canvases of distinctly coloristically charged light contrast. The semantic level of the paintings made in the oil and acrylic technique on canvas is formed by strong expressive and free layers of muted red, brown and contrasting “high” blue and yellow color values. We are talking about formal gesture painting. The structures of the vortex and diagonal compositional movement of the central plan of the painting are opposed to the accumulations of the background color of accentuated dark color. Tone registers are placed in a contrasting relationship, from cold registers of dark background to warm, mostly bright yellow and red-intoned motifs performed with lively, energetic and free gestural strokes. The dynamism of the painting is further contributed by the color-scattered color movements of the surface layer of the painting canvas, defining the spatial concept of the painting. Linear sequences that defy deep tones in fast and rhythmic currents spread and pulsate through the canvas, and additionally testify to the visualization of sound and the musical nerve of Vedran Ružić.

Nadežda Elezović