Marcel Munz - former Swiss drummer and inventor of the art form "MUSIC-TRANSCENDS-ART" - MUTREA. In this process, art and music merge into a creative art form and exclusive pieces of music are composed for each work of art. These compositions are incorporated into the artworks in the form of sustainable colours and materials. MUTREA artworks enable a new and exclusive interpretation of art.
You obviously have a musical background and toured the world as a drummer at a young age, playing hundreds of concerts. How did you come to your current profession as a visual artist?
Art out of defiance!!!
Many people ask me how my development began. There are many different factors that lead you to something and connect you to something. Often you don't know why, but in retrospect you recognise a common thread. In any case, my artistic work had an unusual beginning.
Growing up in clear structures, I was told a lot from outside how to behave in society and that being a musician was not a real profession. Also from the father of my girlfriend at the time. Around Christmas time in 2008, I set out. I bought a simple picture frame with a back wall at Ikea, looked for a material for modelling that I could let off steam with and that would form a hard consistency when dry. I wanted to create a concrete structure that could be seen and felt. The result was a small picture of 70cm × 30cm. I painted it and wrapped it in simple newspaper. I wanted it to look as handmade as possible from the outside. After all, I only wanted to express my frustration about the lack of understanding towards me as a musician and as a seeker.
On Christmas Eve, I was invited to dinner at my girlfriend's and brought the newspaper package with me. Shortly afterwards, the first comments followed: "Has the musician made something again? With a mischievous smile, I said, relaxed and incredibly satisfied: "Yes" and put the package under the Christmas tree.
After dinner, the time had come and the presents were unwrapped. Finally, the newsprint package from Marcel the musician. I was still very relaxed, after all I had nothing to lose. It was unwrapped. For a short while there was silence and I saw in the looks of those people an amazement that I would not have expected myself. That was the beginning.
Since that evening, I have pushed ahead with this sculptural colourful creation, developed it into an artistic form and today I go out into the world with it.
What is the preparation phase like for a project?
It depends a lot on how extensive a project is going to be. When I start a work, I never know what's coming. You can call this a challenge or simply excitement. First I produce the music in the emotion and in the place where I am. That works very well nowadays with mobile devices. Back in my studio, I let the music play on my ears and close my eyes. The picture frame is in front of me and my material mixes are ready. The music and the rhythms flow through my hands and this art is created.
Not only in music does time play a central role in the form of rhythm; also in the sculptural work with the various materials. Every material, every tool needs its time and thus also sets its rhythm. What takes how long until it is hardened, set and reworked? Sometimes I work soft in soft or wet in wet. Why not: the plastic material as an instrument. With time and experience one gets routine and refines or develops techniques. One becomes more competent, more virtuosic, but also more curious about what is to come. On the one hand, everything is still open at the beginning, on the other hand, I have to prepare everything meticulously in order to be able to perform a work in one go. When the music is over, the work is over, no matter where I am in the process. Music off, fingers off.
Preparation is the be-all and end-all, you want to deliver a certain quality, the expectations are certainly high, your own standards even higher. At some point you reach a point where you could actually be satisfied, but as an artist you are never satisfied, that's the fine line between euphoria and despair, between genius and madness.
For the realisation, I need the support of my team, which stands by me and takes over important parts. Always there is Tim Langner, my right hand. He hands me the materials at my performances at the right moment and is also there when new techniques are developed, helps pack and unpack, transport, set up, take down. etc.
Especially in the phase that the MUTREA project is currently in, almost everything happens on one's own, for financial reasons among others, but only one knows best what one wants to achieve and where one wants to go.
What challenges do you often have to overcome?
Of course, there were and are many different kinds of challenges. As far as the project in general is concerned: from whom do you take what advice, how do you evaluate it and when do you realise whether it will take you further or lead you in a direction that you can't continue to pursue in that way. This then has an effect on various levels, organisationally, artistically financially or simply fundamentally in the structure of the project.
In the past, there were always people who meant well, but who would have steered the sense and purpose of the project in a negative direction if I had not intervened. So there were sometimes enormously difficult decisions that I had to make, especially since they were so profound that you couldn't just make a cut and everything would be fine.
Mentally, it was very challenging for me to find my way in this dynamic, because some things suddenly hit me like a wall in a process without a blueprint.
CONCLUSION at the end of the day: It is the greatest challenge for me to be able to create excellent art with a free mind.
What has been your biggest/best project so far?
Actually, when I look at the development from 3 years ago to today, it has to be understood as an overall project that constantly motivates and drives me and for which I am happy to go the extra mile every second - like in sports. The first project reference according to a technically new standard is actually the upcoming collection "PART OF ART": 16 independent works of art, which all harmonise strongly with each other and actually represent a total work of art.
A separate music was produced for each picture. I think the upcoming "PART OF ART" collection will be the first milestone in MUTREA's history. It crystallises the newly won quality, combined from experience and the love for the project.
These are also completely new experiences, vibrations and vibes for me, which only come about when I am simply allowed to be an artist and not always an organiser.
Then, of course, I am happy to be able to produce 9 small works for the Roger Federer Foundation this year (2023), which is also a big project in the end.
How does it feel when a work of art is completed?
After a performance I could pull out trees, but I could also go straight to sleep. It's a feeling of happiness when a painting is finished. But 24 hours later I'm already doubting again whether the picture is really good. This is exactly the phenomenon that defines art. Always changing - in the truest sense of the word. An endless theme (laughs).
In a phase, for example, when I can't concentrate on the essentials, it's quite possible, very likely even, that the work of art won't convince me. That's why a free spirit and head is so important to act to the fullest. I need the flow, it is the elixir without which it is impossible to make art with love and passion. When you are in this flow, everything happens as if by magic and you have exactly this feeling. With the PART OF ART collection I had exactly this flow and this magic. I think that is also reflected in the collection. Each work of art is unique in itself, but it is a dynamic total work of art. The interplay of self-created music with visual art... Just like the motto. Music Transcends into Art.
How do you go about combining shapes and colours with music?
Music is the basis (also biographically). I currently play six instruments and produce my music myself. When the piece of music is finished, the physical realisation comes. I play it and beat the rhythm with my mix on a record. Then it is processed with coloured Keim Mineral powders. My favourite tool for this is the 100-grit brush (laughs). So: first the music, then the modulation and finally the colours! Which colour I use for a painting is decided intuitively after the modelled mass has dried. Structures make a colour appear in me and I submit to that - completely in the flow.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
My potential to push myself to another level, to live my spirit and my skills in harmony with my principles. It's a kind of lifestyle and sacrifice to fight for something you believe in wholeheartedly. I've always been a person who has to make a difference, I can't help it. But also to break it down a bit: It's just great to beat your pent-up energy into a painting. To make a huge mess and in the end to have created a work. I wouldn't use the word work or job. It is a life's work in which I am still at the beginning, but thanks to my imagination I can and will reach completely different spheres.
What excites you about our colours?
First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to the entire KEIM family. Through the encouragement, the trust and the enthusiasm, and of course through the equipment with the absolutely ingenious pigments and materials, a different horizon has opened up for me. Learning to work with the pigments from KEIM is a gift for me. The boundless support of Thomas Klug and Ronny Lorenz of the KEIM company is unique and I appreciate this very much.
The luminosity and versatility of the colours fascinates me every time. Also how the colours show their character in the sunlight.
Of course, sustainability is also important, which speaks for the mineral colours as well as for my works of art. KEIMFARBEN has a long history, which makes me proud to carry it into the future as an artist of modern times.