K a    M o s e r

Das Farbengedicht / The Colourpoem

Texte / Texts

Ka Moser 

Begonnen hat es mit den Worten: 
"Das Farbengedicht“ ist für Ka Moser Thema und Inspirationsquelle in steter Entwicklung (...), 
1983 spontan entstanden als gesungener Text in einer Konzertperformance mit Stimme und Piano. 
Ka Moser, die in den 1980er-Jahren fast ausschliesslich Musik gemacht hatte, wurde von der Kraft 
der besungenen Farben zu visuellem Arbeiten zurückgeführt. Über kleine Objekte kam sie wieder 
zum Bild. Es entstanden erste Zeichnungen mit Farbstiften auf Karopapier, grössere Bilder folgten, 
zuerst in Acryl, dann in Ölfarbe. Noch nicht lange nutzt die Künstlerin auch den Computer für ihre 
Entwicklungen und Verwandlungen auf der Grundlage ihres Farbengedichts, das Konzept und 
Poesie zugleich ist. Erste Arbeiten ihrer Weiterentwicklungen am Computer sind in dieser
Ausstellung zu sehen.

Unerschöpflich scheinen die Möglichkeiten die ihre minimale Wortpoesie birgt, so „als handle es sich 
um ein magisches Einmaleins“ (Simon Baur). Ka Moser komponiert mit den zehn Farben ihres 
Gedichtes, findet manchmal spielerische Regeln die „die Farbe möglichst selber zu Wort kommen
lassen“, wie Ka Moser sagt. Auch die reduzierte horizontale und vertikale Gliederung des Bildgrundes
dient dem maximalen Ausdruck der Farbe.

Den Betrachter können Ka Mosers Arbeiten zu Reflexionen über das Sehen und Erfassen anregen.
Eine dreiteilige Serie in dieser Ausstellung zeigt das gleiche Sujet in wechselnder Farbintensität, von
kraftvollen satten Tönen bis hin zu einer wie überbelichteten Helligkeit. Der Betrachter sieht sich
gleichsam drei emotional unterschiedlichen Bildräumen gegenüber und wird selbst zu einem
unabdingbaren Teil des Kunstwerks. 

Eine besondere Bedeutung kommt in Ka Mosers Werk den Spiegelungen zu. Der Spiegel, des 
Menschen visuelle Selbstvergewisserung, zeigt ein nur scheinbar treues stets seitenverkehrtes 
Abbild. Spiegelungen und Reihungen mit ersten spontan entstandenen, meist kleinformatigen
Bildern entwickelten sich zu den  „Mustermustern“, in denen ein Bild vielfach multipliziert und 
gespiegelt wird. Das menschliche Auge, immer um eine gewisse Ordnung und Orientierung bemüht, 
kann in diesen „Mustermustern“ ganz neue Strukturen und Bildzusammenhänge entdecken. 
Metamuster könnte man diese Bilder auch nennen, die an das Ornament erinnern, wie wir es aus 
alten Kulturen kennen: hier wie dort geeignet, die Versenkung zu fördern, das Denken aus dem 
Alltäglichen hinaus zu geleiten.
Alice Henkes, 2007
Begleittext zur Ausstellung in der Produzentengalerie, Progr, Bern
Paintings from the Inside of the Colour
Ka Moser’s Colourpoem 

On entering Ka Moser’s flat in Eigerstrasse in Berne, a space that reveals no division between private 
life and studio situation, I encountered a quite exceptional work at every turn. The red and yellow 
tulip that peered back at me across the large room blossoms in the first and last colour of her
minimal colour poem. After taking a longer look I was also struck by the colours and paintings that
stand there and hang on the walls and doors. Even her pullover and stockings reminded me of her
art, which perhaps only consists of just one work – albeit made up of a great many different parts.
And likewise all the open and closed doors, the nooks and crannies and narrow passageways, the
rampant plants, the large numbers of books and the paintings leant against the walls must also be
mentioned if we are to plunge into the artist’s world. 
Although she began in the visual arts, in the 1980s Ka Moser also came to public attention in the
fields of performance and music. Her concert performances with piano and voice crystallized into
sound pictures in which the Colourpoem made its first appearance. The Colourpoem came about as 
a song consisting of the names of colours, intoned with a similar freedom to that of Kurt Schwitters 
with his “Ursonate”.
“rotblaugrünviolettorangetürkisgoldenlilarosagelb” (“redbluegreenvioletorangeturquoisegoldenlilac-
pinkyellow”), the “Farbengedicht” ("The Colourpoem”), or „FG“ for short (“CP”) became the alphabet 
of her visual language.
At some point in her performances Ka Moser began including Colourpoem objects – the poem’s first
visual manifestations – by way of props. In 1988 she bought coloured pencils in the CP colours; the
subsequent series of small format patterns that she did on squared paper in a small notebook led 
her gradually away from music and back to picture-making.
„My first colourpoem object was a bundle of energy, consisting of strips of synthetic silk for one of
my concertperformances, placing it in what was like a gesture over the amplifier."
This citation from Ka Moser points to the far-reaching qualities of her spontaneously created
colour sequence, and simultaneously gives us an insight into the possibilities that she opened up. 
As if it were a magical multiplication table. 
From 1996 to 1998 Ka Moser devoted herself above all to works in which the Colourpoem was 
abbreviated to the first and last colour. “Von rot zu gelb” (“from red to yellow”) was also one of the
titles she used for her concertperformances. And under the title “rotundgelb” (“redandyellow”) 
– colour as addition – she later produced paintings with clearly demarcated fields of red and yellow 
paint. In the case of “rotmalgelb, Ton” (“redtimesyellow, tone”) her focus shifted to multiplication. 
Each picture was preceded by extensive studies of the material before embarking on the long, 
engrossing process of meticulously brushing the chosen paint mixture onto the horizontal and
vertical lines she had pencilled onto the canvas. Drawing and paint unite to form a common image 
space that simultaneously is the physical form of the painting.  
The word “Ton” (“tone”) fails to specify whether it refers to painting or sound. Multiple layers of
meanings – as in this apparently minimal work, which is built up however from a highly complex
network – are typical of Ka Moser’s oeuvre. Similarly cycles of works that can be assigned to specific
periods should not necessarily be viewed as finished, for new formulations can forever be added.
"The 10 colours, 10 elements, have produced a great diversity of forms. In 1988 I began to note
down brief models like ornaments in my music, and in the visual I have begun ‘building’ with the
10 ‘Chlötzli’ elements or 'building blocks’, leading to the development of models, ornaments,
symbolic signs, and in fact a very special vocabulary".
In this way a new form of articulation came into being that was no longer improvisation – in which
music is as free as can be – but a personal notation that formed itself into pieces.
And as with musical notations that get played, Ka Moser goes a step further in the visual field by
constructing models and objects based on and using the colours, giving space to the colours and
thus colours to the space. The resulting fields divide up and structure the image space, and border
onto one another: perception takes place in the eye of the beholder, adjoining and delimiting are so
close together that interferences may become apparent.

“The colours are the world which I know how to handle. My paintings and objects, each was done in 
a kind of urgency, are like ‘objets trouvés’ that accumulate, extend and interact. The way the colours
come together and what results from this is painting.
The arrangements and mutual relationships of the colours lend the latter to a kind of perspective
that creates individual spaces and spatiality for them – a new experience of space that often
triggers a special feeling of presence in the beholder. 
And since the bilateral symmetry is not unlike our own, we are face to face with a counterpart: we 
are the beholders but our look is also returned.” Ka Moser in a text from 2000.                

This reads like a declaration of faith, and anyone who walks about her rooms in Eigerstrasse in Bern
knows how right she is. Each object, every painting, or even a flower receives its meaning, import
and presence within a system that can be described as “life”, which can be looked at and carries on

The same is true of her paintings, in which each of the ten tones of the Colourpoem is brought into
play. And so it becomes evident what a key position the Colourpoem assumes in her work, without
ever restricting it. Time and again we discover in this work – which Ka Moser has created and
continues to develop, and which is based on concentration – different yet intertwining skeins that
unravel and compound themselves in concentrated stringency and loose interpretation.

The ten colours of the Colourpoem stand for all colours, forming as it were a keyboard of differing
qualities with fluid boundaries. Once we picture to ourselves all that can be done with ten colours,
we realize that the texts on Ka Moser’s work that have been or are to be written can only be grasped
as distillates of a large, ongoing development.

In her “Kaleidoscope-eye” paintings from 1994 to 1997 we find a continuation of the principle based
on series. For this, a square-shaped image is mirrored and multiplied so as to produce a complex
composition in which the original image – the basic pattern from which it all developed – is
transformed into a new world of images. The corners of the primary picture now become centres of
the visual dynamics. I consciously avoid any talk of variations, for this is a matter of new creation.
This leads among other things to the sudden emergence of round, circling figures from the small
rectangular fields when viewed at a distance. And while developing these images the artist has
arrived at a further (in)finite system; for as with the aforementioned kaleidoscope the tiniest
change alters the entire structure of her paintings, allowing new views, new emphases to arise.
This has prompted not only to a variety of symmetrical compositions but also to free arrangements
of the ten colours.

Ka Moser’s “Grosse Themen als kleine Muster” (“Major Themes as Small Patterns”) from 2001 goes a
step further. These small and subtle watercolours allow a further, almost sculptural level to come 
into being through the use of wet-into-wet painting technique. In this they point back to works that 
Ka Moser already did several years ago, in which she spatialized the colours in rooms, objects and 
tables. As she wrote: “My roomandhouse, seeing the same within and without, inside like out, the 
wall that forms the rooms simultaneously divides them as well. The identical inside and outside can 
serve as a model simulating the suspension of opposites.” We can observe in her work a continual 
process of linking things present with things past, thus forever creating possibilities for things 
future, or to put it another way: a reconciliation of part and counterpart.

This can be elucidated by means of the paintings from the last few years. Ka Moser has always
generated new pictures by enlarging, scaling down, multiplying and mirroring, making full use of the
reproduction procedures offered by laser copy machines. These modern-day wonder-works with
their technical possibilities enable her to multiply her first originals and thus open up paths to
new pictures. By cutting and piecing together, as with a collage, new images arise which,
used modularly, again bring her to new pictures. This is by no means a matter of combining
countless possibilities, but rather of divining a specific urgency. Moreover it is conspicuous that she
captures the images she pursues in this way by broadening her vision to encompass the whole and
simultaneously focusing on the parts. From a different angle, looked at a second time, our
powers of perception are addressed in a different way, such as when the rectangles in a painting
mutate into round, circling forms. Ka Moser lives intensively with her pictures, so much of what
happens comes from the power of vision.
In Godfrey Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi”, a film whose images left a strong impression on me and equally
convinced by Philip Glass’s non-hierarchical music, a lengthy sequence filmed flying over countries,
deserts, steppes and fields is followed by a brief sequence that spells a return to small detail;
amidst this wealth of images we are suddenly shown a variety of different coloured chips from
individual machine parts. They are reminiscent for the moment of the diverse elements of a city,
shot from hundreds of miles above the earth, or the busy flow of traffic in a harbour.

And they also remind me of my encounters and experiences with the works of the artist Ka Moser.

Simon Baur, 2004
Monography Ka Moser - Das Farbengedicht / The Colourpoem