Ernst Caramelle. A Résumé

mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien 
Vienna, Austria
November 30, 2018–April 28, 2019

mumok is showing the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the work of Austrian artist Ernst Caramelle (born 1952 in Hall in Tirol). This exhibition includes all the phases of the artist’s work from 1974 to today. Various media and Caramelle’s conceptual approach will be interlinked and illustrated in an accessible way, but without losing the work’s subtle and strategic complexity.

The exhibition is not entirely chronological, as it presents the overlaps and continuous cross-references between media works (photos, videos, reproductions of images), wall paintings, the artist’s “Gesso Pieces,” drawings, watercolors, the “light works,” and the important body of prints in Caramelle’s oeuvre. Looking at these cross-references allows us to understand the artist’s complex and rich concepts and images.
Abstraction and symbolic figuration, including expressive floral formlessness, permanently interact in Caramelle’s work, as a means of testing out and the anarchic dissolution of boundaries, and an attitude toward the fixation and ideologies of all the various -isms.

The exhibition will address the themes of artistic productivity, the role of the artist, his involvement in the market and the museum, and negotiations between institutions and artists. This involves pictorial wit, slapstick, diagrammatic forms, pataphysical strategies, comic-like elements, and linguistic quasi-aphorisms with nonsensical undertones. And it amounts to a productive, referential eclecticism full of idiosyncrasies that undermine “pure” forms of (abstract) painting or drawing. Underlying meaning, irony, the paradox, and a meticulous investigation of the conditions of our perception and of representation are used as method—without becoming overbearing.

Ernst Caramelle will create a new spatial concept with wall paintings for mumok, and this will be a key part of this exhibition that is conceptually and methodologically linked with the artist’s entire oeuvre.

Curated by Sabine Folie

Ernst Caramelle
Untitled, Installation View at the South London Gallery, 2010
Photo: Andy Stagg
Courtesy the artist and Mary Mary, Glasgow