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Award-winning Yorkshire indie rock band the Kaiser Chiefs are famous for their unique blend of musical genres and chart-topping hits. In 2018, the band collaborated with York Art Gallery to co-curate an innovative exhibition, which explored the liminal spaces between art and sound, sensation and perception, and creation and performance. As part of the display, they hand-picked 11 paintings from the Gallery's collection to show alongside a selection of songs by contemporary musicians and sound artists which have directly influenced their practice.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here:

11 artworks
  • Red Plot

    The viewer of Donnelly's work is expected to take over from the artist and effectively 'create' the painting for themselves, drawing upon different experiences, prejudices, ideas and emotions. As one writer in 1967 put it: "The discussion between artist and picture has come to an end. The discussion between the picture and the spectator begins." The simple, solid black and red composition produces an optical effect, emphasising the flat surface, but the dynamic forms create flow and movement as the eye follows lines that seem to transcend the picture plane.

    Song: Kavinsky – Nightcall, 2010
    Concord Music Publishing, Duration: 00:04:18

    Red Plot 1966
    Peter Donnelly (b.1935)
    Oil on hardboard
    H 122 x W 172.5 cm
    York Museums Trust

  • Under Mars

    Born in London, Wynter moved to Cornwall after WWII, where he became a central figure in post-war British abstraction. During the 1950s, he occasionally experimented with mind-altering drugs in order to discover universal truths in painting, leading to a complete change in his style from 1956 onwards. This work's fragmented, calligraphic design, made up of overlapping brushstrokes and splashes of colour, illustrates his interest in space, structure and movement. Art historian Alan Bowness described his works as "alive and pulsating ... their rhythms are at one with the rhythms of the world of nature".

    Song: Adam and the Ants – Prince Charming, 1981
    Universal Music Publishing / BMG, Duration: 00:03:15

    Under Mars 1950s
    Bryan Wynter (1915–1975)
    Oil on canvas
    H 91.4 x W 213.4 cm
    York Museums Trust
    Under Mars
    © estate of Bryan Wynter. All rights reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

  • Pact

    A leading abstract artist of his time, Hoyland rejected figurative painting in the late 1950s following his exposure to American abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. His work was included in the important 'New Generation' exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1966. During the 1970s, he found himself drawn to the dynamic of the diagonal, as in this case where blocks of vivid colour recur against a richly textured background. The energy of the sequence evokes the free forms of jazz or blues music.

    Song: The Cure – A Forest, 1980
    Fiction Songs Ltd, Duration: 00:05:54

    Pact 1978
    John Hoyland (1934–2011)
    Acrylic on canvas
    H 151.9 x W 126.9 cm
    York Museums Trust
    © estate of John Hoyland. All rights reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

  • 'That we may never meet again'

    This painting depicts a group of two men talking and gesticulating, silhouetted against a bright blue backdrop. The cool colour palette is relieved by measured flecks of yellow, red and green, indicating dappled sunlight and surrounding scenery. Dramatic encounters form a key theme in Yeats's later works, which became increasingly visionary as he pared back his technique leaving only the suggestion of subject and format. Here, a fleeting meeting with a fellow traveller compels the individual to confront their own humanity.

    Song: Mercury Rev – The Dark is Rising, 2001
    Canaveral Pictures Publishing, Duration: 00:04:52

    'That we may never meet again' 1952–1958
    Jack Butler Yeats (1871–1957)
    Oil on canvas
    H 45.7 x W 60.9 cm
    York Museums Trust
    'That we may never meet again'
    © estate of Jack B. Yeats. All rights reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

  • Study No. 3

    A leading British proponent of systematic and constructive art, Hughes explored the relationships between structure, order and rhythm. He frequently produced variations on a theme, in line with the process of musical composition. Here he experiments with the juxtaposition of reliefs against a monochrome background, relying on simple lines and the contrast of block colours. Bold bands of purple, red, green and blue intersect to create an inner and outer square, setting up a deep, dynamic space in the central area of the work and evoking heraldic symbolism.

    Song: Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi, 1977
    Universal Music Publishing, Duration: 00:02:56

    Study No. 3 1983
    Malcolm Edward Hughes (1920–1997)
    Oil on canvas
    H 50.4 x W 50.4 cm
    York Museums Trust
    Study No. 3
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

  • Flickering Grid II

    Bevan is best known for hard-edged, optical geometric paintings such as this one, which featured in his first solo show at the Grabowski Gallery, London, in 1965. Without the intrusion of colour, the monochromatic pattern brings to mind a piano keyboard. The different elements of the composition seem to have their own frequency and syncopated rhythm. During the 1970s the artist collaborated with composers and musicians to stage 'Sound and Image' concerts at the Cockpit Theatre, London, which mixed visual material and sound, both live and electronic.

    Song: Super Furry Animals – Pan Ddaw'r Wawr, 2000
    Kobalt Music Publishing, Duration: 00:04:27

    Flickering Grid II 1965
    Oliver Bevan (b.1941)
    Emulsion on hardboard
    H 122 x W 92 cm
    York Museums Trust

  • H.19 (Canticle)

    Golding is known both as a scholar of twentieth-century art and as an abstract painter. Born in Sussex, he spent much of his childhood in Mexico: an experience which informed his later practice, particularly in terms of colour and light. 'H.19 (Canticle)' is the nineteenth work in
    Golding's 'H' phase of the early 1980s. The broad vertical strips of luminous colour reveal
    the increasing dynamism of his work in this period, while the term 'canticle' refers to a hymn or song of praise, imbuing the work with a musical quality.

    Song: Beach Boys – Caroline No, 1966
    Universal Music Publishing, Duration: 00:02:53

    H.19 (Canticle) 1983–1984
    John Golding (1929–2012)
    Mixed media on cotton
    H 152.5 x W 213.5 cm
    York Museums Trust
    H.19 (Canticle)
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

  • The Bandstand, Peel Park, Salford

    Painted from a 1925 drawing in Salford Art Gallery, this view of an urban landscape is from the Royal Technical College looking across the park to Lower Broughton. Crowds of spectators are dwarfed by the industrial skyline, full of billowing factory smoke. The viewer's eye is drawn to the centre of the work by the concentric rings of tiny figures — described by one writer as "like iron filings around a magnet" — some of which are dancing, others listening. The bandstand has long since been demolished, but in the 1920s it was a popular feature of community life.

    Song: The Kinks – The Village Green Preservation Society, 1968
    Carlin Music, Duration: 00:02:48

    The Bandstand, Peel Park, Salford
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 43.2 x W 62.2 cm
    York Museums Trust
    The Bandstand, Peel Park, Salford
    © The Estate of L.S. Lowry. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

  • The Dormitory and Transept of Fountains Abbey - Evening

    Fountains Abbey was a twelfth-century Cistercian foundation dissolved during the Reformation. Turner visited the ruins in 1797 during his first trip to Yorkshire, and made detailed pencil sketches of the scene which he developed into this finished watercolour to exhibit at the Royal Academy. The structures shown here are not in fact the transept but instead a view from the banks of the River Skell of the monks' cellarium, dormitory and refectory. The artist was less concerned about recording architecture accurately than with capturing the romantic atmosphere of twilight.

    Song: Talking Heads – Love : Building on Fire, 1977
    Warner Chappell, Duration: 00:02:57

    The Dormitory and Transept of Fountains Abbey – Evening 1798
    Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
    Watercolour & gum arabic on paper
    H 48.5 x W 62.5 cm
    York Museums Trust

  • Sketch for 'Disrupted Expectation'

    Appleby studied at the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland, and currently lives and works in Leeds. Created as part of her 'Random Order' series, this work examines the ever-present cohabitation and conflict between industry and nature. Appleby is especially interested in contrast and balance, and both her ceramics and 2D works are characterised by multi-layered mark-making — symbolic of surfaces encountered in the natural and industrial urban landscape. Here lines, grids, felt dots, crosses, blocks of colour, and scrawled writing vie for the viewer's attention.

    Song: Kaiser Chiefs – When All is Quiet, 2011
    B-Unique Records exclusive licence to Polydor Records Ltd, Duration: 00:03:29

    Sketch for 'Disrupted Expectation' 2013
    Rebecca Appleby (b.1979)
    Oil on canvas
    H 59.4 x W 84.1 cm
    York Museums Trust

  • Study No. 4 for 'Painting with Two Verticals'

    Riley is famous for her Op-art exploring geometrical abstraction, which she developed during the 1960s. From 1997, she started to compose an extended series of curves, of which this work is one. Based on the sixth of a circle, serpentine forms interweave and overlap in a rhythmic manner to create the illusion of movement. Riley remarked that "sensations of shine and shimmer are amongst our most common visual experiences", and here the rippling of aquatic blues alongside yellow and golds evoke imagery of summer days and sandy beaches.

    Song: Julia Holter – Sea Calls Me Home, 2015
    Domino Publishing Company, Duration: 00:03:07

    Study No. 4 for 'Painting with Two Verticals' 2004
    Bridget Riley (b.1931)
    Watercolour on paper
    H 39 x W 48 cm
    York Museums Trust
    Study No. 4 for 'Painting with Two Verticals'
    © courtesy the artist and Karsten Schubert, London. Photo credit: York Museums Trust