We are delighted to present “Synaesthesia” a unique collaboration from world-renowned Artist Ima Montoya and Cellist Asier Polo on July 19 at the Newport Art Museum. Polo’s performance of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 and No. 3 and will set the stage for Montoya’s incredible art exhibition at the Newport Art Museum.

We’ve asked Ima to tell us a little about how the project was conceived.

This project was born from a conversation between Asier and I in the spring of 2016. For a long time we talked about collaborating on a project to experiment with a fusion of paint and music, and through this process, to see the creative process through each others’ eyes and challenge ourselves and expand our senses.

The Greek word ‘Synaesthesia’ refers to the starting point where one sensory experience evokes another. From here our conversation went in the direction of how our creative process works and how we appreciate our own work. This required each of us to explain how we assimilate ideas so that we could both reach a common point of understanding with each other’s vision.

It is common to merge music and dance but not so common to link music with painting. Thus one of my biggest challenges — to reach the same conclusion without either discipline eclipsing the other. We wanted to avoid treating the music as an accompaniment of the images, or the images acting as mere supports of the music. Both needed to be a part of the same idea or structure making the sensory journey more powerful and interesting. One idea that evolved from our first conversation was that if the painting was a meadow, the music would be the aroma.

The first challenge for me was the structure of the music itself, able to transport you to different states of mind in seconds, where real time plays a fundamental role in an almost narratively poetic way. Painting on the other hand is appreciated in another way; it reaches us immediately in a single glance. Our mind selects, assimilates and relates to it in another dimension. While these approaches do not go hand in hand, they can complement each other and together, they are able to reach corners of our existence and soul that we are incapable of recognizing.

It has been said that Beethoven is the voice of the soul, Mozart is the voice of heaven, and Bach is the voice of God. We chose Bach for this project because in essence he is one of the clearest composers whose music transports us beyond our borders through the lucidity of his structure. In this pictorial interpretation, Bach provides me with the structure where I can investigate and express private emotions.

Just as Cy Twombly makes Artaud’s, Proust’s or Rilke’s poems his own, I have tried to fuse my memories and longings with Asier’s interpretation of Bach’s music so the distinction between painting and music can disappear for a brief moment and we can reach forgotten places in our interior.

Art and music are the salvation before forgetfulness and death, where by means of sonorous or chromatic structures we evoke vivid sensations. Love is palpable through the sound and the structure of Bach and as Asier told me, there are no ugly notes in Bach’s music. Love of life, the almost optimistic preparation for death, love for us, and love for a sabbatical and omnipresent God, Bach’s music is full of dignity and hope.

The union between music and painting is a perfect union, always unfinished, between the states of consciousness and sleep, the irrecoverable past and the future full of order and light.

Ima Montoya
Mexico City 2017

Join us on July 19 at the Newport Art Museum for ‘Synaesthesia.’
Tickets are available here