Why Hjartans is a project with so many different sides

During the XX Century, the Italian artist Lucio Fontana became (in)famous for this kind of "art":

In case the image is not clear, this is a canvas with a cut in the middle. I first met Concetto spaziale, Attesa (Spatial concept, Waiting) in high school, where the consensus among my peers was that he and other XX Century artists (such as Pablo Picasso) just weren't able to "draw properly" (for the record, Picasso's light drawings are what changed my mind about his skills as a visual artist). Despite the negative opinion of my friends, I was always fascinated by Fontana's cut canvases, and I found them quite soothing. I count myself lucky to live within an hour of a museum with a permanent exposition of some of his Concetto spaziale works.

A common objection to this kind of art is that "anyone can do it". I have my thoughts on the matter, but it's best to let Fontana do the talking: "some time ago, a surgeon visiting my studio told me that he [the surgeon] could have done 'those holes' as well. I replied him that I would also be able to cut a leg, but the patient then would die." (All of Fontana's quotations come from Lucio Fontana. Manifesti, scritti, interviste, curated by Angela Sanna, Abscondita, 2015. The translation is mine). I'm sure some of you won't find Fontana's words convincing (and Fontana had something to say also to the unconvinced: "If that's so, keep on saying it's a hole, e ciao" - in the original, he said "hole" in Milano's dialect). But this is kind of behind the point I'm trying to make.

Quite some time after high school, I discovered that Fontana was not just a canvs-cutter, but also a very skilled ceramist.

If you're like me, it's only natural to wonder what do the canvases and the Virgin Marys have in common. It turns out that Fontana created Concetto spaziale for profound, almost spiritual reasons. In his own words: "I did these holes. But what are they? They are the mystery, art's unknown, they are the expectation of something that has to happen". At a later time, he went one step further: "I do an act [that of cutting the canvas], I believe in God, it is an act of faith". I was impressed by how such wildly different works are the external manifestations not only of a single person, but of a cohesive inner journey. This finally brings me to ᚼᛁᛆᚱᛐᛆᚿᛋ.

To my relatively unexperienced eyes, in Dungeon Synth it seems to be customary to have multiple projects with different aesthetics. Many artists I respect and love do it, and it's not hard to understand such a choice. For instance, not all fans of Spectral Sorrow might love Fourthpeak, and vice versa.

Then, there are also matters of setting up expectations among fans, and many other considerations. In short, having multiple projects is a solid choice under many points of view.

However, you might have noticed that, with ᚼᛁᛆᚱᛐᛆᚿᛋ, I'm doing the exact opposite. You find Golem Dreams (a dreamy ambient short EP) near Sumarið Þegar Hjartað Söng (a metal-infused energetic album), and Arrhythmias (doomy dungeon drone) sandwiched between The roads of the Old Empire and Open your heart to the Night (two very different melodic fantasy synth releases). This somewhat unusual choice hints at the fundamental unity and wholeness of the underlying music journey. Just like Fontana was expressing the same ideas with his cuts and his ceramics, all of ᚼᛁᛆᚱᛐᛆᚿᛋ music, from the fastest to the slowest, from the most relaxing to the most intense, is the expression of a single journey, of a single heart.

That's ᚼᛁᛆᚱᛐᛆᚿᛋ. One heart, undivided. One song, no matter how multifaceted.

(We all know the "one heart" quip is a metaphor, as my heart is literally made up of two pieces ^^")

Special thanks to Sean Boa for an enriching discussion on modern art that brought me back to Lucio Fontana. Dedicated to Umbría, with gratitude for his support of my Dungeon Synth journals.

ᚼᛁᛆᚱᛐᛆᚿᛋ, March 2024