Painting The Piano: Lubomyr Melnyk On Stage With Gregory Euclide

Pianist Nils Frahm, who created the soundtrack for Nina Ricci’s A/W11 show in collaboration with cellist Anne Müller, led me to the discovery of Melnyk along with their shared record label. Home to artist-musicians like Lubomyr Melnyk, Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick, Erased Tapes Records has a group of loyal followers like myself who love the mix of cinematic, neo-classical and electronic music.

As the lights went down and the show was about to begin, Melnyk, thanked the audience for coming to 'see him play an actual piano'. He continued on to explain that recordings fail to project the raw sound emanated from a piano which is often neglected in this rapidly digitalising world.

Melnyk was heavily inspired by the minimalist movement in the early 1970s and developed his own technique of piano playing known as 'continuous piano music'. This involves playing rapid notes usually with a sustain pedal held down to generate resonances that echoed throughout Village Underground’s lofty vaults. Melnyk's skill and stamina portrayed his remarkable dedication to the piano, which carried the audience to new realms of joy and tranquillity.

Standing besides Melnyk was American contemporary artist Gregory Euclide with a white board. Lauded for his artwork for Bon Iver’s 2012 Grammy Award winning album, Euclide used Japanese Sumi ink, brushes, stencils, whiteboard erasers and paper towels to create a painting. Every stroke of his brush moved in unison to Melnyk's music and had meaning. It was inevitable that Melnyk's passion for the instrument was expressed on Euclide's whiteboard.

Throughout the performance, I was fixated on a floral shape at the right of Euclide's painting that I imagined being digitally printed on a white skirt from Dior by Raf Simons or Dries van Noten. Bon Iver's song 'Woods' was adored by Dries van Noten who used it as his entire A/W12 soundtrack, so perhaps if Dries sees Bon Iver's music to fit in with his aesthetic, Euclide is not too far from collaborating with the Belgian designer.

The lines between art, fashion and music have been blurred over the years. Recently, SHOWstudio's project called 'Splash' involved couturier Iris van Herpen, photographer Nick Knight, artist Geoffrey Lillemon and sound artist Salvador Breed who joined forces to create a PET-G plastic dress which mimicked the moment of a splash wrapping around the body in the form of a wearable garment. We also witnessed the collaboration between nine British fashion designers and visual artists to create a series of works at the 'Britain Creates 2012 Fashion + Art Collusion' exhibited at the V&A.

I walked into this performance expecting to see music and art, but fashion was added to the equation.

 

Lubomyr Melnyk

Lubomyr Melnyk

Gregory Euclide

Gregory Euclide

Gregory Euclide's finished painting after the show.

Gregory Euclide's finished painting after the show.

The setting at Village Underground.

The setting at Village Underground.

Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2013 - Look 52

Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2013 - Look 52

Dries van Noten Autumn/Winter 2012 - Look 2

Dries van Noten Autumn/Winter 2012 - Look 2

Event Photos:  Tracy Morter (courtesy of Erased Tapes)

Runway Photos: www.style.com