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How Mike and Madeleine Bülow scientifically transformed art by combining painting & photography

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Kandinsky could not even dream of such potentiality for combining color and music. After 100 years Mike & Madeleine Bülow open up new possibilities in art. The artists themselves call this art form Colorphonie (Combined Painting and Photography).

Their well-coordinated creative work presents the public with an incredible combination of colors and shapes, transferring painting into the third dimension.

Furthermore, music plays an important role in the creation of this entire microcosm, that comes to life in the artworks of Mike & Madeleine Bülow. Music is the connecting link in the creative process of creating masterpieces by two talented artists, whose hearts beat in unison to the rhythm of their favorite tunes.

How does harmony in marriage affect the creative, well-coordinated work of two artists? How did professional musician Mike's experience and Madeline's abstract experiments contribute to the creation of a new form of art? Is the couple planning to create their NFT following the trend? Read on for all the secrets of creating innovative art that fuses photography, painting, sculpture, and music.

Yuliana Arles: Your art plunges the viewer into a completely different world. The harmonious combination of color and graceful forms indicates the unique skills of the artist, who has created this incredibly beautiful aesthetic world. It's hard to believe that there are actually two creators. You are a married couple and a creative union, the yin and yang of the “Symphonies of Colors” project. Tell us how you manage to combine your two worlds, two talented souls in one creative dance to create such unique masterpieces?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: It is a challenge to make art together as a team and to come into harmony. But there is a connection with us through the music! Through music, we find a common working rhythm! However, there will never be rules set in stone. This would be a great hindrance to creative processes. Wanting to achieve something together has become our strength. Maybe it is also easier because we are married and no one can walk away when things get difficult, but you have to face the challenge.

Yuliana Arles: You call your art Colorphonie (Combined Painting & Photography). Can you elaborate on the technique and the role of each member of your duet in this process?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: The roles are actually clearly distributed. Madeleine creates the small sculptures of color in the liquid. I react intuitively to what is happening. The making of the colors and liquids is a part we fulfill together!

The focus of our work is on the investigation of color itself and the relationship between color, form and space. Unlike Josef Albers, who explored the interrelationship between color and form, he chose a flat, level surface. We take a completely different approach in our work.

We dispense with the flat surface and elevate painting into the third dimension. Our works are sculptures. But that only applies to the process of creation. Our paintings are photographs, two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects, and thus combine with the tradition of depicting space on a flat surface.

We also relate our work to music. You could say that music serves as a reference and a yardstick.

Yuliana Arles: I see that music plays an integral role in our art. The very name “Symphonies of Colors” indicates the connection of the visual image with music. As far as I know, Mike is a professional musician with 30 years experience. He has released 4 albums and 16 singles on labels such as MFS Records, Flesh, Universal Music, Sony, and Warner.

On the other hand, Madeleine has been experimenting with form and color in abstract painting for many years. Tell me, how and when did your creative Universes intersect to create such an exceptional dance of colors? How did you get the idea to capture this process by photography?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: I think everything is subject to a process of evolution and development. For me, I always wanted to see music in the times when I was producing music! It was a deep desire to actually see it!

Together, it all started after a good bottle of wine and empty wine glasses. We filled them with water and started dripping color into them. This was a simple process and did not yet fulfill what we wanted to see.

So over the years we developed a liquid, and modified the colors, which allowed us to control everything a bit more. But the control was never meant to be great, because we love to trust the accidental process. The most interesting works are the ones that surprise us. We left the canvas and looked for new ways. The basic thought was, music moves through the 3rd dimension. We want to explore what else is possible to represent music visually.

Yuliana Arles: According to some scientists, in early childhood, everyone is synesthetes. In our brain, there are “neural bridges” capable of connecting various senses. According to this theory, color, images, sounds, and smells in the perception of an infant are merged into one chaotic whole. With age, these connections break down, and our feelings are divided. There is a small percentage of people in whom these “neural bridges” remain. A prominent representative of the synesthetes was Wassily Kandinsky, who possessed a special form of perception of color and music.

Your artwork, presented in the form of video (20/21 Repetition) with a certain musical arrangement, influences the viewer's perception, helping to see the world “through the eyes of Kandinsky”. Have you ever researched the influence of your art on the cognitive perception of viewers? Have you received any specific feedback from the viewers regarding the influence of your artwork on them?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: It is very interesting that you mention Kandinsky of all people! I see it myself with my children, how they react to things. The difference between many children and adults is that children are usually still free of experiences and judgements, in contrast to most adults who approach things with a judgement based on the experiences they have had in life.

Through these experiences, as adults, we lose the ability to perceive without prejudice. Art should be for the soul and senses. It can create a moment of pure perception, as it is a way of communication. Usually you don't need to say why, why, why about a work of art.

I believe that abstract art can also help more to reach a state of perception than figurative or representational art, which can force the viewer to evaluate more than abstract art, because it shows familiar things that are already known.

Every moment in life influences us, even if we don't realize it. It has something to do with mindfulness and awareness, to perceive. It is really hard, unless you are practicing Zen meditation, to escape the many distractions of our time. If we were free or overcame the thoughts that distract us from what is, a world of perception opens up to us.

The key is in the NOW! Research as such does not exist for us, however our work has been selected by a science project (WolkenTraining) for the cognitive training of managers and is an integral part of the training.

Mike & Madeleine Bülow with Dr. G.C. Rump
Mike & Madeleine Bülow with Dr. G.C. Rump

Yuliana Arles: From the outside, the process of creating your artwork looks like a scientific experiment, and your studio is very much like a laboratory. We can see the results of such experiments in your photographs, which reproduce objects in a two-dimensional plane, creating the illusion of a third dimension. How did you achieve this effect? Do you use any scientific methods to create your artworks? Or do you get this effect intuitively?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: A bit like molecular cuisine, isn't it?! ;) But yes, both. Of course, there are no scientific processes that help us achieve what we want. Maybe our own science. Everything is intuitive and has been achieved over many years, through trial. It is important to overcome the processes again and again in order to evolve and not leave anything the same. Only in this way can we achieve what has not yet been.

One should not think so much when working, but really perceive the moment as such. Rather, there is the question of how we feel and what we transmit through it. For example, we tried it without music, which was very unusual and the result accordingly ;). We tried it further and even in silence there was much to be found (the series silence).

Regarding the question of how we achieve the effect, it should be said that the most important thing is to recognize what is in front of us. Everything we do depends on the here and now because our colour is a very fleeting friend. There one second, then gone!

Yuliana Arles: Your art is like a living organism, it is constantly evolving. Now your artwork is going out of a two-dimensional image, turning into sculptures. How did you get the idea to do sculpture? What materials and techniques do you use to create your sculpture?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: We think it is a normal and logical process. Our works with paint are also small sculptures, which then dissolve again and can only be captured by photography. We are completely free in our choice of material and use wood, clay, acrylic and hartz. Unlike our paint work, we have to destroy it again and again and start new ones in order not to become predictable and to achieve randomness that surprises.

Yuliana Arles: Due to its aesthetic qualities, your artwork is ideal for display on LED Canvas called Luma Canvas. Such displays are used to exhibit works of art in the form of NFT in the first physical NFT art gallery Vellum L.A. The gallery curator Sinziana Velicescu said: “Imagine having art in your home that can change over the course of hours, days, months, or even years”.

What do you think of NFT as a new form of presenting art to the audience? Have you tokenized your artwork yet?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: Of course, we are open to all modern and new things, but we do not follow every trend. We have already received offers to convert our works into NFTs. However, we will not do this yet. It is interesting but nothing more. We are patient and will see what happens. We think it is very good to exhibit online. It is a good opportunity to show your work to many people who might never visit a gallery. Also, the digital medium of displaying art via monitors is certainly great, and also offers a chance to rent or sell one's art.

Yuliana Arles: At the end of our conversation, I want to ask about plans for the future. How are you going to please the audience in the near future? Where will it be possible to see and purchase your art?

Mike & Madeleine Bülow: Our work can be seen at the Florence Biennale from 23 to 31 October, we have two smaller works 67 x 67 cm on display there!

We are quite happy to have some good contacts despite the Corona crisis. We have a gallery in Austria, one in Italy and also a contact with a big company in China and one in India. Furthermore, we have also made very good contacts in America, which we would now like to expand even more. All important information can always be found on our website.


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nikita sh
nikita sh
Sep 21, 2021

Wow! How amazing, I really enjoyed this article and what they do. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Vinnie Jinn
Vinnie Jinn
Sep 22, 2021
Replying to

Thank you! 😍 they are truly amazing artists


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