Well, some art does – literally – sing to you, as proven by Matthew Maxwell’s new Singing Ribbons show.
The artist has created a series of colourful images printed onto acrylic panels, with designs based on military ribbons. Each has its own musical score, which makes the works ‘sing’ when scanned with a smartphone.
Maxwell was inspired to explore military decorations by a holiday in Turkey. He explains, ‘I saw all these pictures of generals with all their medals and thought, “these are pretty”.
‘As medal strips and decorations they have huge depth of meaning for historical and political events, and the personal history of the people who won them.’
The works in the exhibition look to explore the coded language that medals and military ribbons hold. Maxwell adds, ‘There’s a visual language – if you speak that language then you can read someone’s life history from their chest’.
For the show, Maxwell has taken each colour from the ribbons, and assigned them a separate note – the length of which is dictated by the width of the colour. The notes are sung by soprano Susan Parkes, and can be heard when scanned with smartphone.
Singing Ribbons runs until 27 April at the Conigsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London W1T