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Su Ai

JUST ANNOUNCED // ArtAscent Vol. 60

“Abstraction is, first of all, a way of seeing. It detects theories, thoughts, and feelings where others can merely see objects. Where others see matter, abstract artists capture energy. Where others grasp a multiform reality, abstract artists try to seize its rules, the invisible pattern that connects it” 

words by Cinzia Franceschini from the foreword to the 60th Volume of ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal

painting by Su Ai one of Distinguished Artists of this volume

On the relationship between painting and music_Scribin

Alexander Scriabin, a renowned Russian composer and pianist, held a distinctive and profound perspective on the correlation between painting and music. He posited that these two art forms were interwoven and could be employed to create a synthesis of sensory experiences. Scriabin was influenced by the philosophy of synesthesia, characterized by the amalgamation of different senses, which had a significant impact on his approach towards the relationship between painting and music. He was convinced that music possessed the potency to evoke visual images, while painting could encapsulate the emotional and spiritual essence of music. He perceived both painting and music as expressions of the soul, with the capacity to transcend the limitations of the physical world. Scriabin endeavored to create a total work of art that merged music, color, and light into his own compositions. To achieve this, he integrated elements of synesthesia by assigning specific colors to different musical tones and keys. He even devised a color organ for “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire,” which was engineered to project colored lights corresponding to the different musical notes being played. Scriabin’s interest in the relationship between painting and music transcended his own compositions. He was also influenced by the Symbolist movement in art, which aimed to convey abstract and mystical ideas through visual imagery.
Below please find a link to the attempt to realize a symphony of sound and light “Prometheus: Poem of Fire” by Anna Gawboy in collaboration with Toshiyuki Shimada, conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and a lighting designer Justin Townsend.


On the relationship between painting and music _Kandinsky

 Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter and art theorist was deeply influenced by Goethe’s ideas. In his book “Concerning the Spiritual in Art,” Kandinsky argued that both music and painting could be seen as expressions of the spiritual realm. He believed that just as music could bypass language and directly communicate with the soul, painting had the potential to tap into the innermost emotions and spiritual dimensions of the viewer and that both art forms had the power to transcend the limitations of the physical world and access deeper levels of human experience. 

 “A painter, who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art.” 

 Fascinated by the synæsthesic relationship between music and painting, he believed that through the use of color, form, and composition, he could create a visual equivalent of musical harmonies, rhythms, and melodies.  

His symphonic configurations, were categorized into three distinct types: “impressions”, “improvisations” and “compositions”. Whilst “impressions” were still somehow inspired by external reality, “improvisations”, and more developed “compositions” were rooted in unconscious, spontaneous expressions stimulated by inner feelings and subjective experience.

In a letter to Arthur Jerome Eddy, a friend and collector from Chicago, Wassily Kandinsky commented on Improvisation No. 30 (Cannons) : 

“The cannons … could probably be explained by the constant war talk going on through the year [but] the true contents are what the spectator experiences while under the effect of the forms and color combinations of the picture.”

On the relationship between painting and music _Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer, poet, and philosopher, had a deep appreciation for both music and painting. 

Goethe saw music as a purely temporal art form and painting as a spatial art form, but despite these differences, he believed that music and painting shared a common essence. He saw both art forms as manifestations of the same underlying creative impulse. 

The relationship between music and painting went beyond their formal qualities. He saw them as interconnected modes of expression that could inspire and enrich each other. Goethe believed that music could awaken the imagination and enhance the visual experience of a painting, while painting could provide a visual counterpart to the emotional and atmospheric qualities of music. In his book “Theory of Colors,” Goethe explored the relationship between colors and emotions, drawing parallels between the emotional effects of colors in painting and the expressive power of music. He believed that colors, like musical harmonies, could evoke specific emotional responses and create a certain mood or atmosphere. 

Goethe also emphasized the importance of the viewer or listener in experiencing art - the true meaning and effect of a work of art could only be fully realized through the active engagement and interpretation of the audience.

Su Ai’s watercolor inspired by Leoš Janáček’s String Quartets

OUT NOW | Jazz Album - Su Ai

“Jazz album” is my new summer series of small square works on paper combining traditional printmaking, photos, magazine pictures, and found objects in a distinctive collection of 30 song-collages. In this body of work, I try to stretch the boundaries of a small 3” x 3” format by collaging and layering fragments of different materials, colors and textures into complex structured compositions.

13-23 May Post it! Exhibition for World Collage Day

I’m pleased to celebrate World Collage Day by participating in the artists’ collaboration project launched by COUPEE. An exhibition of collages will be presented from 13th to 23rd May at de Krook cultural center in Ghent, Belgium. 13-16 May Post it! Exhibition for World Collage Day | De Krook | Miriam Makebaplein 1, Ghent, Belgium

collage sequence by Su Ai, 2022

The Artist as Witness

W życiu każdego kraju i każdej społeczności zdarzają się momenty, których doświadcza się wspólnie, jako zagrożenia dla wszystkich, kiedy to pojawia się poczucie, że “wszyscy się jednoczą” - na przykład poczucie zagrożenia wojną albo wojną wewnętrzną. W takich momentach poeta liryczny czuje się wezwany - zarówno wewnętrznie, jak zewnętrznie - do pisania poezji, która mogłaby “ocalać ludzi i narody”. Uważam, że to ważne, by poeta czuł tego rodzaju odpowiedzialność. Istotne jest jednak, by tę odpowiedzialność wyrażał swoim własnym językiem czy idiomem. W poezji temperament ma znaczenie równie wielkie, co czasy. Świadomość jest swojego rodzaju moralnym wyzwaniem, ale danie wyrazu tej świadomości to kwestia sumienia artystycznego. Usłyszałem kiedyś od Josifa Brodskiego takie zdanie: “Jeśli sztuka uczy nas czegokolwiek, to tego, że kondycja ludzka jest prywatna”.

SEAMUS HEANEY 20.10.2009 “Poezja, przyjaciółka człowieka” | Tygodnik Powszechny

[in  translation:

In the life of every country and every community, there are moments that are experienced together as a threat to all, when there is a feeling that “everyone is united” - for example, the sense of the threat of war or internal war. In such moments, the lyric poet feels called, both internally and externally, to write poetry that could “save individuals and nations.” I think it is important for the poet to feel this kind of responsibility. It is important, however, that he express this responsibility in his own language or idiom. In poetry, temperament is as important as the times. Consciousness is a kind of moral challenge, but expressing this awareness is a matter of artistic conscience. I once heard Joseph Brodsky say: “If art teaches us anything, it is that the human condition is private.” SEAMUS HEANEY 20.10.2009 “Poetry, a friend of man” | Tygodnik Powszechny]

oil painting by Su Ai, 2022

Creative Art

WHAT FROM the clay, from stone did first emerge so
Creative Art, encompasses with quiet vict’ry
The mind’s unmeasured, vast domain.
What in the knowledge land discov’rers conquer only,
Discover they, for you the conquest gain.
The treasures, which the thinker has collected,
Will only in your arms first joy impart,
When first his science, into beauty ripe perfected,
Will be ennobled to a work of art—
When he does to the hilltop with you sally,
And to his eye, in evening’s mildly shining part,
Is suddenly revealed—the vivid valley.
MORE RICHLY you do satisfy his fleeting vision,
More beaut’ous, higher are the orders which the mind
Can fly through in one magic union,
Can circumscribe in one enjoyment blind,
The wider ope are thoughts and feelings staying
To harmonies’ more sumpt’ous interplaying
To stream of Beauty’s richer, fuller span—
More beaut’ous members of the universal plan,
Which, mutilated, spoil now his creation,
He sees the high Forms then bring to perfection,
More beaut’ous step the riddles from the night,
The richer will the world be he embraces,
The broader streams the sea in which he chases,
The weaker grows the Destiny’s blind might,
The higher are his urges striving,
The smaller he becomes, the greater grows his loving.

From “The Artist” by Friedrich Schiller, translated by Marianna Wertz

Transfiguration: From Nature to Art – 2021/22 Biennial International Paper Fibre Art

The Association Chaîne de Papier has announced the upcoming
2021/22 Edition of the Paper Fibre Art Biennial event in collaboration with NTCRI, at the exhibition
halls of the NTCRI Campus, in Nantou County, Taiwan.

The programe includes two exhibitions, KOZO CONTEMPORARY and CHANGE.

Su Ai’s Triptych has been selected to be presented as part of this event.

To see all selected artists and for details, please go to


Robert Craft: What is technique?

Igor Stravinsky: The whole man. We learn how to use it but we cannot acquire it in the first place; or perhaps I should say that we are born with the ability to acquire it. At present it has come to mean the opposite of “heart,” though, of course, “heart” is technique too. A single blot on a paper by my friend Eugene Berman I instantly recognize as a Berman blot. What have I recognized – a style or a technique? Are they the same signature of the whole man? Stendhal ( in The Roman Promenades) believed that style is “the manner that each one has of saying the same thing.” But, obviously, no one says the same thing because the saying is also the thing. A technique or a style for saying something original does not exist a priori, it is created by the original saying itself. We sometimes say of a composer that he lacks technique. We say of Schumann, for example, that he did not have enough orchestral technique. But we do not believe that more technique would change the composer. “Thought” is not one thing and “technique” another, namely, the ability to transfer, “express,” or develop thoughts. We cannot say “the technique of Bach” (I never say it), yet in every sense he had more of it than anyone; our extraneous meaning becomes ridiculous when we try to imagine the separation of Bach’s musical substance and the making of it. Technique is not a teachable science, neither is learning, nor scholarship, nor even the knowledge of how to do something. It is creation and, being creation, it is new every time.

[p. 25, Conversations with Igor Stravinsky. Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, 1959 Doubleday, Garden City, NY.]

This is collage of paper in abstract composition of different kinds of blue with two greenish parts. This is collage of paper in abstract composition in diffirent blue colors.

 Double concerto _collages by Su Ai, 2021

Folding Fan

I’m watching ‘OKINA 翁’ piece from Noh repertoire.

Open/closed, touched, moving downward/upward, forward/backward, circling, waving, pointing – folding fan communicates with me and I have impression it is a mean of communication between performers on the stage as well. 

Fans are like mobile screens on which subtle shades of feelings, emotions and  inner life are displayed. In their motion the symbolic/metaphoric/abstract manifests; tonal/ atonal miniatures.

Collages by Su Ai, 2020

Boulez Way

“The way of Boulez is to take two weeks (for example) and think about one or
two notes of the viola part in a large score, to make sure they are exactly the
notes he wanted (where and how placed in the score) down to the last detail of
how it is to be played.’’ says Bruno Maderna in conversation with Rocco Di
Pietro. “If this is true, it is amazing how prolific he has been. Perhaps
the confusion has something to do with artists like Picasso or Stockhausen, who
so rapidly create such an enormous quantity of new and varied work. That
approach perpetuates the myth that the artist must be a producer of constantly
new and dazzling works and that anything less is indicative of creative
decline” -reflects Rocco di Pietro.

Dialogues with Boulez / Rocco Di Pietro, The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
Lanham, Maryland, and London 2001, p.2

Monoprints by Su Ai from the collection of study for Victoria Amazonica, 2019


So, we started.
The exploration of the nature of free creativity is the main subject of our
MOVE Lab meetings. In this unique dance of presence and self-observation we
move and we listen. Between tone and tone, between one picture and another,
between one sensation and another, between one plane of consciousness and
another, there is an activity. There is a constant, uninterrupted movement.

Is this something that can be consciously experienced?

Monoprints: Grey Scale I-IV, Su Ai 2019


We’ve just finished our 10-weeks intensive research focused on movement-based forms. In a small team we were working basically on our experiential understanding of transformative powers of sound and movement. We were looking for connections between different approaches, perspectives, and planes.

From this work and out of our will to continue this research first Lab emerged. It will offer experimental MOVE workshops for the enquiry of movement-based forms of art.

printmaking by Su Ai, 2019