How an encounter between our alumna, the artist, writer and researcher Marianna Maruyama (DAI, 2014) and curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, in July 2016 at the DAI, brought little-known and under-recognized Dutch artist/composer Sedje Hémon (1923-2011) to Documenta 14.
Marianna wrote us:
"Spring comes with some exciting news to tell. :)
You may know that last year I moved to The Hague to start researching the little-known and under-recognized Dutch artist/composer Sedje Hémon (1923-2011), together with the composer Andrius Arutiunian. Thanks to some good luck, a fortunate encounter, and sincere trust from curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, not to mention the cooperation and support from the Sedje Hémon Foundation, I am very proud to announce that Sedje's work is being exhibited in Athens at documenta14 right now! A selection of her painting-scores are hanging in the Athens Conservatory and are already getting a lot of attention (in NL - NRC article today! also in ArtForum, etc.).
After so many years, this work has come out into the light again, and returned to a place (Athens) that was personally significant for Hémon (more about that below). Later this summer, Andrius and I plan to be part of the public program as a way of being in conversation with her work and bringing some different energy to it with our own practices.
With appreciation for the DAI's efforts to connect people, our creative resonances, and belief in artistic merit - the luckily-timed encounter with Bonaventure at the DAI (when he was invited as a guest respondent for the graduating students' lecture-performances and I was writing about them, in July 2016) - turned into a pivotal moment that let this research come headlong 'into life' in a significant way.
The new website www.sedjehemon.org (in English) gives more background info (including her relationship to Greece), images, and sounds (coming soon). For updates, just subscribe to the mailing list.
With warmest greetings from Den Haag,
The Sedje Hémon Foundation encourages research and study of Sedje Hémon’s artwork and compositions as well as her theory on the integration of art and music. As part of this aim, in 2016 the foundation invited composer Andrius Arutiunian and artist Marianna Maruyama, both based in The Hague, to research the archives and generate new work drawing from Hémon’s legacy.
Sedje Hémon’s creative resilience, what Vilém Flusser would have called ‘creative exile’ can be seen in her fluidity across media and her strength of character alike. In her remarkable paintings from the 1950s and 60s, and in the scores that emerged from them through a method she invented, Hémon tested the boundaries of disciplines and practices from within an artistic climate steeped in late modernism. Her as yet untranslated Theory of Integration deals with the interconnectedness of all art forms, including music, dance, and visual art. The meticulous notes she kept while developing this theory between 1958-1965 are of particular interest, as they also shed light on the great number of other artists, composers, and scholars she was in regular contact with, such as the art historian H.L.C. Jaffe, and concert pianist Shura Cherkassky.
In January 2017, Marianna Maruyama published the first article on Sedje Hémon in English in the Dutch art journal Kunstlicht (Translation as Method no. 3/4, 2016). Order a copy here.