Nathan Dunne at Aeon Magazine:
Rothko’s paintings, and their context within the chapel, resonate in ways not dissimilar to Graceland. The chapel allows for contemplation and prayer through painting, where the album embeds notion of inequality, alienation and racism among spritely 1980s synths and loose dance rhythms. Put simply, apartheid is burbling under the surface of Graceland, while in the Rothko Chapel the paintings create a highly personal response, one that, at least in Timothy’s case, resonates with the plight of the disfranchised and the unseen.
The landscape, the nude or the teapot generally require the viewer to see a certain object. Rothko’s abstraction allowed Timothy to hear the subject of representation
Perhaps there is something inherently musical in the experience of abstract art. Wassily Kandinsky’s abstractions were the result of a lifelong preoccupation with the relationship between sound and colour. He discovered his synaesthesia at a performance of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin in Moscow: ‘I saw all my colours in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me.’ Synaesthesia unites the senses in such a way that the stimulation of one acts like a powerful domino for the others, involuntarily collapsing them together.