Ernst Caramelle: Creating spaces through forms and colours

From November 30th 2018 until April 28th 2019 the Viennese Museum of Modern Art (mumok) is showing the first ever retrospective of Austrian artist Ernst Caramelle (born in 1952, in Tyrol).

The exhibition manages to give an overview from 1974 until the present works, including early media works, drawings, watercolours, silkscreen prints, gesso pieces as well as site-specific wall paintings. Since the mid seventies Caramelle has created an extremely diverse body of work shifting from video works to drawings, photographs, paintings and wall installations. Using various manifestations of colour and geometric form, often applied directly to the walls of an installation space, Caramelle’s work explores the relationship between the concept and the space it is presented in.

In 1974, at the beginning of his artistic pathway, Caramelle has been working with video installations, aiming to play with the relationship in between reality and its duplication.

In 1976, Caramelle concluded his studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and then rented a studio in New York, while at the same time teaching in Frankfurt.

The exhibition design itself can be recognized as an approach towards Caramelle’s understanding of form as space. 

The viewers are welcomed by a large object on casters with two small monitors resembling eyes and an irregular line, looking like a mouth. This work combines a painted surface (painted with wine) with media work, including a television programme. Faces are a repetitive motif in the oeuvre of Ernst Caramelle. Besides those eye puzzles, Caramelle’s pivotal subjects include the function of symmetry and doubling effects through mirror images.

The pictorial spaces can be seen in an art-historical tradition, related to the perception of space and colour in the Renaissance or else the Bauhaus era.

His works have often been compared with altarpieces by Domenico Veneziano or Piero della Francesca, both of them active in the 1440-1470s, for their akin use of colour tones as well as forms and lines. The artist’s interest in representing architecture and three-dimensional structures in the field of the image also create or build an illusionistic space.

Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria

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