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In 1996, the painter HUGO VAN GOETHEM was asked to make a series of painings during a concert of contemporary music by the German composer Wolfgang Rihm live on stage at the Flemish opera in Antwerp and Ghent. Since this experiment, the theme of movement found itself a central place in the artist’s work. The performance made it clear to him that it is not simple to represent sounds visually. Hugo Van Goethem knew the ‘action painters’ had experimented with music, but they often aimed at representing a particular state of mind. Hugo Van Goethem sought for another angle having learned through the performance that one cannot paint SOUNDS at the moment they are perceived. Sounds have already disappeared before the painter has even taken his material in hand, while the next sounds manifest themselves already.
Hugo Van Goethem wanted to anticipate the sound and he realized that in order to seize the sounds it would be necessary for the artist to develop a new graphical musical notation. Starting from these SOUNDS a new series of paintings was created which Hugo Van Goethem commonly refers to as LANDSCAPES. In these frames too, the artist wants to capture movement. He fixes in paint what the eyes see if one travels though a landscape. A third development in the work of Hugo Van Goethem is the series of paintings called CARTOONS. They seem to constitute a playful deviation in his work, but the artist does not consider these paintings in this way. For him the characters also express a movement, i.e. what occurs between two frames in a comic strip made visible. They constitute a kind of synthesis between the sounds and the landscapes.