Music in Lyrical Colours: Erdmute Blach's Art / by Jeannine Cook


Every time I go to an artist residency, there are so many rewards beyond actually having the opportunity to create art pretty well full time.  Yesterday I had one such reward: listening to a talk given by fellow resident artist, Ermute Blach, about her work.
Erdmute comes from Germany, initially from East Germany before unification, and now she lives in a small town, Rostock.  But her art is anything but small town.  Despite her quiet demeanour, her work is powerful, lyrical and arresting.  We have a lot in common in our attitudes to being artists, the first being that each of us started life in fields other than art.  In Erdmute’s case, she has a degree in mathematics.  Yet, to my way of thinking, the discipline and logic of mathematics lead very readily to one of the main sources of inspiration for her paintings and drawings: music.
Blue Note, acrylic, Erdmute Blach (image courtesy of the artist)
Erdmute uses the nuances and layers of compositions – mainly music written by contemporary composers now – as the means by which to express her love of form and colour.  She works directly with musicians, including  Portuguese musicians, and composers, sometimes in live performances.
Untitled, acrylic, Erdmute Blach (image courtesy of the artist)
Her acrylic paintings are bold and direct, expressing very clearly the rhythm, content and passion of the pieces of music she is evoking.  Interestingly, she does not listen to the actual music as she is painting; she often knows the score already, but it plays only in her head as she works.
Untitled, acrylic, Erdmute Blach (image courtesy of the artist)
Untitled, acrylic, Erdmute Blach (image courtesy of the artist)

Untitled, acrylic, Erdmute Blach (image courtesy of the artist)
Another love which inspires her painting is poetry.  She has created artist books of poetry and had them published by one of Germany’s major art book publishers, Edition balance.   The Frankfurt Book Fair and the Leipzig Book Fair have been recent venues where her art books are on display.
Here at Obras Portugal, she is using her residency to create a large body of work inspired by the Portuguese Alentejo landscapes and world.  These works will be exhibited next years, 2015, in the nearby wonderful city of Evora.  So Erdmute is again responding to the sights and sounds, the rhythms and intervals; already on the walls here in the studio, bold colour is singing.
A delicious reward for me, listening to Erdmute talk of her work, thoughtfully, seriously, passionately.  It makes me glad to be a fellow artist.