Müller & Sohn (en)


The artist duo Müller & Sohn think of themselves as an aesthetic, experimental research laboratory that operates between the poles of painting, sculpture, photography and video art. Their work focuses on nature, from closely observing and examining it and its phenomena to scrutinising how human intervention can impact and alter it.

Müller & Sohn develop artistic-scientific tools which they use to create object-based landmarks in order to change the visual structure of landscapes. Through this kind of spatial re-interpretation and its multimedia documentation, Müller & Sohn create images of intense aesthetic coherence.

Irene Müller, previously an artistic collaborator with Christoph Schlingensief, interweaves documentary photographic and video material with painting. Diethard Sohn connects with nature by means of hyper-realistic rendition in painting. This stands in contrast to his ironical reinterpretation of cubism which combines cubistic structures with the palette and the aesthetic of comic strips.

PATHS – Alps

The origin of the joint projects

It started in the Austrian Alps. During our hiking trips we discovered red benches that were placed into the landscape at regular intervals as though they were intended to divide it into sections and provide it with a distinct rhythm. 

This inspired us to develop our own research and measurement tools in the form of red strips of fabric that we used to walk paths with and rhythmically mark the landscape by assigning indefinite measurement and time units to it. While doing so, we documented our actions within the natural environment on photograph and film. We sketched down the resulting ideas and insights and realized them again in painting, sculpture, photography and film.

By introducing a regular minimalistic structure into a landscape, the pre-existing random natural environment gets transposed into a referential framework and thereby visually redefined. Red as a colour of high visibility creates a strong contrast with the surrounding colour spectrum and imbues the fabric strips with an abstract quality that transcends the concrete elements of the landscape. Measuring as a typically human activity that seeks comprehension through quantification is translated into performative action which links the urge for scientific understanding to the performance of spiritual rites.

Irene Müller and Diethard Son © Müller & Sohn, PATHS – Alps
Marking the landscape, Müller & Sohn, Project PATHS – Alps

Exploring landscapes by walking in connection with the artistic and scientific research instruments, the use of photography, film, painting and sculpture – these are the elements that form a wide field of possibilities for the creation of a total work of art. This also includes joint works where both artists cooperate on one single painting.

See below for an example: Kuh Vadis 250 x 150 cm, Acryl auf Baumwolle, Irene Müller und Diethard Sohn 2016, Project PATHS – Alps

Cow Vadis 250 x 150 cm, acrylic on cotton © Müller & Sohn, PATHS – Alps
Kuh Vadis 250 x 150 cm, acrylic on cotton, Irene Müller and Diethard Sohn

The following gallery shows the photographic documentation of their art performances and how Irene Müller and Diethard Sohn have each individually transformed their landscape explorations into painting.

We showed our ongoing project WEGE – Alps for the first time in a salon exhibition of the Kunstverein – Ludwigsburg.

PATHS – Renewal

In 2016, we transferred the means of expression which we had elaborated during our first PATHS project to the field of historical investigation. PATHS – Renewal. The subject of research was the protestant Reformation in Württemberg which we intended to describe and encode as a phenomenon of cultural and religious history.

For this project, we visited places that are related to the historical figure of Duke Christoph who in the 16th century introduced the Reformation in Württemberg. While  doing so, we marked paths and put down symbols that represented his life and works and his ongoing legacy. 

We recorded each of those performative explorations for documentation with actioncams in time lapse mode. These recordings are an integral part of our video installation  

Correspondingly, we made palpable the process of renewal (which is inherent to the term “Reformation”) through the creation of a painting. This was done by depicting representative motifs from the Duke-Christoph-exhibition at the Württemberg State Museum in Stuttgart and by overpainting each single motif with another one. During this continuous process, a great number of layers added up, which by their semi-transparency preserved the former conditions of the painting to make the past within the present perceivable.

As a link to our walking explorations, we frequently let appear the symbols that we before had created with the red fabric strips within the layers of the painting, eventually leading it to completion by painting the symbol for “eternity” which had also previously appeared during the video recording in the form of a choreographic figure.

Renewal | Duke Christoph Bad Urach
PATHS – Renewal | Duke Christoph | Stuttgart Castle Square
PATHS – Renewal | Duke Christoph | Stuttgart Castle and Ulm Münster
PATHS – Renewal | Duke Christoph | Overpainting In the studio

You can watch longer versions of the videos on our Youtube channel.

We exhibited a part of this Project in a group – exhibition WKV – Stuttgart

PATHS – Wadden Sea

Connected to wind, clouds, sand and the sea

Whereas in the mountains exclusively red fabric strips were used to simulate units of measurement and mark and define artificial and artistic borderlines, at the WaddenSea additional objects like “Lugworm Poo” and “Network” were applied.

PATHS – Wadden Sea © Müller & Sohn, Amrum
Placement of the object Lugworm poo

Driven by curiosity, we went to the island of Amrum in April 2015, being for the first time equipped with the “lugworm poo” and “network”- objects. Further conspicuous items were two action cams, which we had mounted on bamboo sticks and yellowoilskins to protect us from wind and rain.

The PATHS led us across wooden tracks, dunes, dykes and salt marshes. Then finally across the Kniepsand dune to the sea. 

Against the backdrop of the 15 km long and up to 1,5 km wide beach, we went our PATHS through the Wadden Sea. Holding the object “Network” above our heads, we were sailing close to the wind. At this point we let go any control as artists and yielded to the force of the elements. Nature itself took over direction to create,against this unique backdrop, images of stunning beauty that were captured by action cams.

PATHS – Wadden Sea © Müller & Sohn, Sylt
Hard on the wind

PATHS – Wadden Sea, Art and Science

The ongoing project PATHS – Wadden Sea brought us in 2017 to the Alfred- Wegner-Institute where we interviewed scientists about different aspects of the dynamic relationship between art and science. It was particularly interesting to discuss the inner drive that leads people to dedicating themselves to the either one or the other.


Irene Müller

Visual artist

2015 Foundation of the label Müller & Sohn (Irene Müller & Diethard Sohn)
Since 2011 joint studio with Diethard Sohn
1990 Artistic studio in Stuttgart. Simultaneously active until 2014 as art director at a design agency and as graphic artist for various publishing houses.
1987  Visual Communication, “Merz Academy” University of Design, Art and Media Stuttgart, Degree: Diploma
1986 Studied painting and visual communication, Augsburg University of Applied Sciences
1984 Studied painting with Roland Schauls, Free Art School Stuttgart
1981 Studied law, University of Freiburg
*1962 Ulm

Exhibition and Projects

2019 VII. Ellwanger Kunstausstellung 2019 – Group exhibition, juried.

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, “könnte aber doch“ (could be) – Group exhibition

“Personal Structures” art exhibition in the context of the 58th Venice Biennale (May 13 – November 24, 2019).

2018 Plauen Hut in the Zillertal Alps at 2364 m altitude, solo exhibition video installation with the project SUPERWILDVISION Alpen, summer 2018

2017 Rathaus Winnenden / SUPERWILDVISION / solo exhibition, juried
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, “Presence, Criticism, Utopia” – Group exhibition, juried / Müller & Sohn with the project “Looking For Traces”.
Donaueschinger Regionale 2017, Group exhibition, juried, catalogue / Müller & Sohn with the project “PATHS – Alps”,

2016 Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Müller & Sohn with the project “PATHS – Alps”, solo exhibition, juried.Galerie Meinlschmidt Fine Art, Summer Art Collection, Balingen, group exhibition

2015 WARTESAAL, culture in Besigheim, solo exhibitionArtist Association

Walkmühle in cooperation with the Office for Social Work, Wiesbaden, group exhibition juried, catalogue.

Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, group exhibitionDonaueschinger Regionale

2015, group exhibition, catalogue. Project SUPERWILDVISION in the Zillertal Alps at 2364 m altitude, realization from summer 2015 onward.

2014 Project SUPERWILDVISION Würmtal and Stuttgart-Süd, painting and videos

Solo exhibition near the project site in a former mill in the Black Forest, catalogue.

2013 Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, “Das Antlitz” (“The Face“), group exhibition

since 2012 beginning of the “Boar Project” in the Würmtal. Developed into an artistic experiment: SUPERWILDVISION

2010 Galerie Kunstbezirk Stuttgart, [title] “Urban Visions” group exhibition, juried / series “Stuttgart Airport”Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart,

Group exhibitionGalerie Birkhofer, Gottenheim, group exhibition juried

2009 Gallery Kunststoff, Wismar, double exhibition

2008 Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, [title] “Evolution” group exhibition jurors, catalog. / with series “Antarctic” et al.

2007 Multiple stays in California, USA. Personally supervising promenades leads to the development of a painting series

2005 – stay in Ladakh, India. Origin of the portrait painting series “Mahabodhi Girls”

2003 Collaboration on the project Church of Fear by and with Christoph Schlingensief (“pole sitting competition” 50th Venice Biennale / “walking body” from Cologne to Frankfurt / “Holy Communion” drama Frankfurt) and theater production “Bambiland” by Elfriede Jelinek, directed by Christoph Schlingensief, Burgtheater Vienna

since 2002 international webcams as an inexhaustible source of inspiration Surveillance cameras of: weather / landscape, gas stations, road junctions, research stations, airports, refrigerators, beach promenades and many others

1999 House of the World’s Cultures, Berlin, Prüss & Ochs Gallery Berlin-Beijing, exhibition GAP VIET NAM, catalogue.

1997 Publication of the Vietnam project in magazine “du”. July / August issue 1997

since 1995 Multiple stays in Vietnam (Hoi An). Origin of the Vietnam project: About 1000 found portrait photos from the 50s experience a transformation into painting


2019 Art Prize of the Karl-Heinz Knoedler Foundation, Ellwangen.

Public purchases

City of Ludwigsburg: “Kuh Panorama 2008”

Diethard Sohn

Visual Artist

2015 Foundation of the label Müller & Sohn
since 2011 joint studio in Stuttgart with Irene Müller
2004 – 2007 Work visit to Indonesia on invitation by a local patron
2003 – 2004 Guest lecturer at the Academy of Design, Art and Media, Stuttgart
1991 – 2004 Guest lecturer at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart
since 1984 freelance artist, painting and sculpture
1979 – 1983 Studies at the Merz Academy of Design, Art and Media Stuttgart, graduation
*1961 in Cologne 

Exhibitions and Projects

2019 VII. Ellwanger Kunstausstellung 2019 – Group exhibition, juried.

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, “könnte aber doch“ (could be) – Group exhibition

“Personal Structures” art exhibition in the context of the 58th Venice Biennale (May 13 – November 24, 2019). 

2018 Exhibition for the first Southwest German Art Award sponsored by the  Kreissparkasse Esslingen-Nürtingen Foundation – Esslingen
Exhibition 41st Art Prize 2018 of the Sparkasse Karlsruhe Cultural Foundation: “The World … getting out of joint?”
EOS, art group exhibition, Sala Mazzone in Vittoria, Sicily

2017 Donaueschinger Regionale, group exhibition. Juried, catalogue /  Müller & Sohn with the project “PATHS – Alps”,
Württembergischer Kunstverein “Stuttgart, Presence, Criticism, Utopia”. Group exhibition, juried / Müller & Sohn with the project “Searching for Traces”; 

2016 Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Müller & Sohn with the project “PATHS – Alps”. Solo exhibition, juried
Galerie Meinlschmidt Fine Art, Summer Art Collection, Balingen, group exhibition.

2015 Donaueschinger Regionale. Group exhibition, juried, catalogue
Annual Exhibition Kunstverein Ludwigsburg

2014 Artist’s Fair at Meersburg New Palace
Art Fair at Schwetzingen Palace

2013 Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, “Das Antlitz” (“The Face”).Group exhibition.
Art Leipzig – Festival of Contemporary Art Leipzig 2013. Group exhibition.
Artist’s Fair Thurn and Taxis Palais in Frankfurt

2011  “December Show”, Gallery Amrei Heyne. Group exhibition.

2010 Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, group exhibition
Galerie Birkhofer, Gottenheim, group exhibition juried
Dillmann Foundation, Stuttgart, group exhibition, Strzelski Gallery

2009 Gallery Kunststoff Wismar, double exhibition.
Leonberger Kunstnacht, group exhibition.
Shanghai Art Fair, group presentation.

2008 “In the barn”. Painting and sculpture by Hans Mendler and Diethard Sohn.

2007 Solo exhibitions Art Museum Krupp, Elkerhausen Castle.
Solo exhibition “Indonesia, documentary painting”, Kunsthaus Schill, Stuttgart.
Gallery Durruti, Stuttgart, group exhibition.

2006 “Out of the Common” Gallery “Galeriehaus 42”, Gerlingen
Solo exhibition at The Peak, Jakarta, Indonesia, in cooperation with the German Embassy

2005 Exhibition at The Peak, Bandung, Indonesia

2004 “Tango”, “Contáme una Historia”, Liederhalle Stuttgart, set design.
“Art Does IT”. Exhibition at CeBIT, organized by the state of Baden-Württemberg and BW-I.
Gallery Durruti, Stuttgart, group exhibition.

2003 Salon Bar Sur, Stuttgart, “Tango”, solo exhibition.
Gallery Durruti, Stuttgart, group exhibition.

1998 Large scale display at the company building of caatoosee AG, 1999 Purchase of the works by the owner.

1997  Piazza, Stuttgart, solo exhibition..

1996 Volksbank Bietigheim, solo exhibition .

1995 Exhibition in Leonberg, purchase of the painting “The Sunday Walk” by the city administration.


2019 Art Prize of the Karl-Heinz Knoedler Foundation, Ellwangen.

2018 Audience Award 1. Südwestdeutscher Kunstpreis

Public purchases

The Guardian, Art Museum Krupp (2007)
The Sunday Walk, City of Leonberg (1995)

Relationship between art and science – a “brainstorm”


This mind map was based on interviews with scientists from the field of science. We then filtered out, grouped and integrated essential nouns and core phrases from the interview into the mind maps. This was processed until as few elements as possible were available in the room without reference.

It was interesting that in the end the concepts of “aesthetics” and “curiosity” formed a unique cloud of concepts.

At this point, we would like to express our gratitude to our sponsors and helpers, whose support has made it very much easier for us to do the exhibition in the context of the 58th Venice Bienniale at the Palazzo Mora.

Our Sponsors

*instinctools, the software company, is supporting creative artists by sharing its international growth and success with them

In the context of the 58th Venice Biennale, the European Cultural Center is hosting and supporting the “PERSONAL STRUCTURES” exhibition which is being organized by the GAA Foundation at Palazzo Mora. The exhibition will show a cross section of what today can be considered contemporary art. The artists are invited from all around the world to present their personal reflections on time, space and existence and to share it with a broad audience.
As an international company, we encounter, in our day-to-day work, small and large cultural differences that, if they lead to misunderstandings, can influence the quality of our work. But we master these differences by seeking the cultural exchange, paying attention to every culture and treating our counterpart with respect. This approach is also pursued by the exhibition “PERSONAL STRUCTURES” mentioned before where works by Europeans and non-Europeans are intended to show similarities and differences, with the aim of illustrating the cultural diversity of our world on the one hand and achieving a better understanding of each other on the other.

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