About the Cycle Sound Shaping

by Steffen Wolf, composer and musician

All the works that belong to this cycle are conceived as open works - open to the other SOUND FORMS and open to the viewer, whom they invite to continue the forms and ornaments beyond the edge of the picture. At the same time, this means an active establishment of contact, which shows possible points of contact and connections between the works. The shapes seem to continue beyond the four sides - in no work are shapes completely enclosed, suspended, limited. Each work seems like an excerpt from a certain world of sound. One of the preceding work groups is entitled WAHLVERWANDTSCHAFTEN. This concept presupposes forces that relate separate and quite opposing elements to each other. This can mean attraction or repulsion. And these forces are also clearly effective in the works of this cycle. For the artist, therefore, the observation of the individual work in combination with other works as well as the question "how 'around?" is of great importance - in this questioning, the forces that push for kinship become apparent.


An alphabet of 6 shapes, which the artist has distilled from previous works and to which she exclusively refers, serves as a set of rules. These forms are repeatedly varied, rotated, mirrored and put into a new relationship with each other. Carmen Hillers does not, however, treat her form material in a modular fashion, but playfully, restrainedly and observantly - she waits for the elements to strive towards each other independently and takes this as an impulse.


The shapes and their proportions to one another are subject to the same laws as the sounds of music. The best known harmonic ratio - the "golden section" - corresponds, for example, to the division ratio of the fifth. It is fascinating to see how in Carmen Hillers' sound forms basic harmonic proportions predominate down to the smallest ranges without any conscious planning. This is not to be understood, however, as meaning that the works are characterized solely by harmonic proportions, i.e. by euphony. Rather, the artist sets classical proportions in a differentiated manner in exciting relationships with each other.


If one considers how much in harmonic music concepts of striving towards and away, of the energetic relationships of the intervals themselves to each other play a role, one senses the possibility of a sound, which, in this, distinguished from music, does not need a temporal sequence, but is constantly present in the work as a play of forces.

The tonality of the proportions is intensified by the lightness that the painting ground, the delicate voile, allows the colours. The fabric allows the colours to roll off easily, creating a floating, vibrant impression of colour surfaces. Their structure, the vibration of the colour applied with small brushes, creates a characteristic sound throughout the work. The meeting of this sensual and in the best sense superficial tonality with the conscious mental play of sound in the composition is what makes this cycle so special.