The central figure of this project is Sedje Hémon (1923-2011), who was an artist, composer, theorist, and teacher. During the 1950’s and 60’s, Hémon developed a unique method of translating her paintings into musical scores. Her incredible life story as a Dutch female composer and Holocaust survivor living in The Hague during the post-war period lends her extensive body of work an unusual complexity and depth. In 2016, the Sedje Hémon foundation invited Arutiunian and Maruyama to work with the archives and legacy of this rediscovered artist. As a result, after many years of quietly waiting, her painting-scores were recognized by the curators of Documenta 14, and were exhibited in the Documenta Halle and Athens Conservatory of Music. They have since been seen by over a million visitors in Kassel and Athens this past year.
Sedje Hémon was known for being a pioneer of interdisciplinary practices. Her “Method of Integration” developed between 1957-1965 was a theory that aimed to integrate all art forms. One of her discoveries was finding a way to “extract” sound from images. This method consisted of placing a pitch grid onto the painting and extracting data that was then used to compose a musical score. Harmonie was one of the first scores she made using this systematic approach. It was performed in The Hague in 1964. It is symbolic that the piece would come back with a new performance by Ensemble Modelo62 in the framework of an interdisciplinary program involving a composer and artist from diverse backgrounds.
The concert program of Modelo62 aims to rediscover Sedje Hémon’s pioneering music and demonstrate the relevance of her ideas in today’s interdisciplinary context. In addition, new works by Andrius Arutiunian and Marianna Maruyama reactivate Hémon’s practice for contemporary audiences.
This project is graciously supported by the Fonds Podium Kunsten, Gemeente Den Haag, and Stroom Den Haag.