Colour Music with Fractures

Tarja Ervasti: Colour Music with Fractures. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen.

Tarja Ervasti’s work of light art comments on the František Kupka exhibition by creating musical landscapes of colour, light and sound.  Viewers can choose colours for the compositions featured in the work, giving rise to endless variation.

Tarja Ervasti, artist
Willie Budsko, composer
Jokke Heikkilä, interface designer

The work weaves together light, colour, contemporary music and the viewer into a single interactive whole. Each of the seven musical numbers has seven colour variations programmed into it, one of them based on Ervasti’s own interpretation of the music and the rest based on the other colours of the colour wheel and white. The piece creates a meditative space that sensitises the viewer to interrelations between colour and music.

The installation references to colour organs, which were created for playing colour music works. Colour music is an art form based on the phenomenon known as synaesthesia. The two most common forms of synaesthesia are the association of sounds with colours, when sound stimuli produce a visual response, and the association of numbers and letters with colours.

The idea of correspondence between the senses goes back to antiquity. Pythagoras wrote about a sacred geometric order in the universe that is reflected in natural phenomena. Early 20th century symbolists were particularly fascinated with synaesthesia; this led various artists to invent colour organs, instruments that projected different colours as notes were played. Works inspired by the confluence of sound and colour were composed by Messiaen, Stravinsky, Scriabin and others on the basis of their personal experiences of synaesthesia.

Tarja Ervasti is a light artist and theatre lighting designer. She works on a wide front within the fields of spatial and environmental art. Her primary media is light with its motion, reflections and its dynamic with the environment.



Willie Budsko is a Helsinki-based composer, musician and producer. He works as sound designer and composer for short films and art events. He publishes his music under the aliases of Reni Ryder, Portamento Boy and others.

Jokke Heikkilä is a sound designer and lecturer based in Porvoo. He works in IT programming projects and in audio and visual productions that combine technology with performing arts.

The artwork is supported by Audico Systems Oy and Elation Lighting Professional.

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