Fourteen folded Etchings on the interpretation of
J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue
The Art of Fugue is a still, serious world, deserted and rigid without color without light, without motion, it does not gladden, does not distract yet we cannot break away from it.
Elizabeth Harington's colophonic interpretation of Bach's mighty Art of Fugue is a fascinating journey into the artist's mind and aesthetic sensibilities, both clearly formed by her remarkable history and artistic skills. The transformation of Bach's own autograph pages into circular, lens-like designs, each quite different, realizes in print-form an aspect of Bach's attempt to create symmetries in the structure of time. Harington is not concerned with the surface appearances of the fugues - - in Bach's language their sound - - but with their inner natures, the myriad relationships of their internal dimensions.
Defining the cycle as a search for the silence of death, she injects a sense of purpose into what might have been a more abstract endeavor. And while Bach had the misfortune to die while composing his final fugue - - which was clearly not part of the plan, as Bach tended not to leave his great projects unfinished - - Harington interprets his premature silence as the ultimate goal of Bach's search, and of hers.
Finally, the power of her work lies in her understanding that the eye, when stimulated, leads us to greater depths, the same service the ear performs for Bach; but appropriately, neither eye nor ear, though given gorgeous things to experience, are allowed final satisfaction here: as with Bach, Harington forces us, persuades us, convinces us to look for deeper and deeper truths.
Kenneth Cooper 2000 : Harpsichordist