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Steve Tilden, Michizane's Journey Into Exile

Steve Tilden, Michizane's Journey Into Exile (2009) shellac and acrylic collage on panel [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Feb 2-27]

Migrating Messages

Blackfish Gallery
Portland OR – Feb 2-27, 2010

Migrating Messages is a collaboration among artist Steve Tilden, writer and scholar Paul Merchant and composer Tomas Svoboda. The resulting artworks reflect the writings of Sugawara no Michizane (845-903), a 9th century Japanese poet, politician and court scholar of the Heian period.

Phoney Picasso

Steve Tilden, Despite Early Promise, excerpt from Notes for Time by Paul Merchant (2009) [detail], steel, shellac and acrylic on panel [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Feb 2-27]

Real Picasso

Steve Tilden, Longing For Home, excerpt from Notes for Time by Paul Merchant (2009) [detail], steel, shellac and acrylic on panel [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Feb 2-27]

The project began several years ago with the translation of Michizane's text by Paul Merchant, an archivist at Lewis and Clark College Library. Tomas Svoboda, whose works are performed internationally, created Migrating Messages as a 23-minute concerto based on the text translation, for xylophone and tape. Visual artist Steve Tilden filtered aspects of both the musical and written components to create three major artworks that correlate with the three movements of Svoboda's concerto.

Tilden's first piece is a 24-foot wide landscape depicting Michizane's journey into exile. Guided by Svoboda's musical score, the six-panel piece simplifies into broad atmospheric forms the topography of mountains, fields and hills where Michizane travelled.

For the second movement. Tilden used a bold red colour to represent sound. The sweeping notes of Svoboda's score is reflected in a 40-foot span of distorted steel panels which hang from the ceiling in graduating sizes.

For his third piece, Tilden utilized Merchant's Notes for Time, a chapbook he created for the project that combines translated excerpts of Michizane's poetry and his own original writings on the subject. Tilden literally fabricated the poem sculptures a term he uses to describe the parchment-like panels that physically interpret words through small rhythmic assemblages of metal verse.

www.blackfish.com

Allyn Cantor


 Wed, Feb 17, 2010