Music and Art

Across different stages of the learning and creating process, common elements can be found in the working dynamics of artists and musicians. These can be summarized in three fundamental aspects:

- The motivation or reason that leads an artist to experiment with an idea; this sometimes may even be a response to a question.

- The tools or instruments used to produce or perform the piece; the photographer uses the camera like the musician uses his instrument.

- The final output that is shared with the public and completes the process; the work generates new concerns that may stimulate new creation.

Thomas Struth connects both processes, and he shows an deep interest in the public's collective experience of art and music—how they are affected while visiting an exhibition or attending a concert. In 2011, he developed an educational project, Musik, at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen in connection with one of his exhibitions. The project studied the interaction between visual and acoustic perception, allowing visitors to explore the relationship between cause and effect in the arts.

As the artist stated:

“Putting our specific selection of music in a room where there’s nothing to look at, almost like a monk’s cell, is my laboratory experiment. It lets us refresh our notion of art; it lets visitors get excited in a precisely defined, protected space of perception. Then, the next time you find yourself standing in front of a Piet Mondrian or a Max Ernst, you may have a new and more spontaneous approach to art after having listened to the music—regardless of what others think, or what the artist originally intended.”

There are extensive connections between the visual arts and music. They may even complement each other, as Vasily Kandinsky demonstrated in his book On the Spiritual in Art (1911). In fact, many terms can be used to talk about both art and music.


As Thomas Struth says:

"The nature and terminology of the many elements involved in music can be applied just as easily to other artistic fields—terminology such as architecture, dynamics, composition, counterpoint, and so on."