How do artists explore the hidden beauty of music?

How do artists explore the hidden beauty of music?
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22.03.2023 Michael Mittelman, art-researcher and critic

Yuri Negrebetsky, Nothing, 2022. Nothing is an entity that comprises everything.

Contemporary artists have always found new and innovative ways to express themselves, and now, many are turning to spectrograms of music as a new medium. Spectrograms are visual representations of sound that allow us to see the frequencies and patterns that make up a particular piece of music.

One of the most prominent contemporary artists using spectrograms is New York-based composer and visual artist R. Luke DuBois. DuBois has been creating stunning visualizations of music for years, and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world.

R. Luke DuBois, 2011 A More Perfect Union: Lonely 

In one of his most famous pieces, “A More Perfect Union,” DuBois used spectrograms of Barack Obama’s speeches to create a musical composition that reflected the cadence and tone of the former president’s voice. The result was a beautiful and moving work of art that captured the essence of Obama’s message and his place in history.

Yuri Negrebetsky, a Moscow Conservatory graduate and composer turned visual artist, is another creative using spectrograms to explore the connection between sound and image. His work focuses on the visual traces of musical compositions and the emotions and meanings they evoke.

Negrebetsky’s recent work includes a project timed to coincide with the release of his debut solo album, which utilizes spectrograms to “remove” the trace of his music and create an accompanying audio series. The spectrograms are an exact copy of the audio track, allowing viewers to experience the music in a new and unique way.

The visual traces themselves are stunning in their complexity and beauty. The use of color and texture creates a mesmerizing effect that draws the viewer in, inviting them to explore the intricate details of the work. The result is a kind of synesthesia, where the senses are blended together in a way that is both exhilarating and contemplative.

The resulting artwork is a testament to the power of music and its ability to inspire creativity and innovation in all forms of artistic expression.

Yuri Negrebetsky, Metanoia, 2022. A revelation and reconciliation. 

In Negrebetsky’s works, emptiness takes on a new meaning, becoming more voluminous and meaningful than any content or context. Through his use of spectrograms, Negrebetsky creates a unique visual language that captures the essence of the emotional and narrative elements of sound.

Murcof, 2021, The Alias Sessions  

Another artist who has been exploring the potential of spectrograms is Mexican electronic musician Murcof. His recent album “The Alias Sessions” features stunning visuals created from the spectrograms of his music, giving listeners a unique and immersive way to experience his work.

But it’s not just musicians who are using spectrograms in their art. Visual artist and designer Scott Reinhard has been using spectrograms to create stunning visualizations of natural sounds, like birdsong and thunderstorms. His work is not only beautiful, but it also provides a new way to experience the natural world around us.

The use of spectrograms in contemporary art is still relatively new, but it’s clear that this medium has a lot of potential. By visualizing sound in a new way, artists are able to create works that are both beautiful and meaningful, and that push the boundaries of what we traditionally think of as art.

As we continue to explore the possibilities of spectrograms in art, it will be exciting to see what new and innovative works emerge. From music to nature, the potential uses of this medium are endless, and it’s clear that artists are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.

Contemporary artists are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with spectrograms in art. From musicians to visual artists, this medium has become a powerful tool for exploring the connections between sound and image, and for creating new and innovative works that challenge our understanding of what art can be. As we continue to explore the possibilities of spectrograms, it’s clear that this medium will continue to play an important role in the world of contemporary art.

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