It is quite remarkable how many fine artists also made music. This was much more than just an interest in another medium. Public musical performances and the production of recorded music involve different ways of working and different environments, and also the confrontation with a different audience (not to mention different forms of income).
This is why art critic Jörg Heiser refers to a “contextual shift” between the fine arts and music when he writes about this phenomenon beginning in the 1960s. Alluding to the fact that some artists did not make their work in other fields transparent and open, his book is called Double Life. It is certainly true that there are many different ways in which individuals can either combine these two fields in their lives and work—or keep them separate. In some cases, work in both fields was only known to insiders. Other artists, by contrast, made a deliberate use of the frame of the fine arts for their musical performances. There is a broad spectrum with many intermediate forms.
From June 22, 2018, a mumok exhibition taking its title Double Life from Heiser will focus on fine artists who wrote or produced music, who performed it in public, or who were members of artists’ bands. This raises the question as to the difference between pure musicians and artists and those working in both fields. The exhibition will also address the role of music by fine artists within the history of twentieth and twenty-first-century music.
Music as a Work of Art
The exhibition Double Life will present only music, in the form of listening stations, which will be linked with visual material wherever possible—videos and photographs of concert and studio performances. The exhibition will thus respect the significance of the artists’ choices of performance situations. Information about the fine art work of the artists will also be presented.
Curated by Eva Badura-Triska and Edek Bartz.