Muntean/Rosenblum "To die for"

Muntean/Rosenblum "To die for"

de Appel, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10, Amsterdam

‘In their new installation for De Appel Muntean/Rosenblum underline the spatial characteristics of the exhibition space on the first floor: they connect the front windows to the ones in the rear by constructing an oversized running 'machine' turning the whole space into a fitness studio. While monitors hanging from the ceiling show a world of 'well being' and islands with towels and plants create the wonderland of physical relaxation, the paintings and films made on parking lots confront the displaced viewer with the sad reality of urban life. Exhibitions by Muntean/Rosenblum consist of a hybrid of different genres. The media of this artistic duo include sculpture, painting and photography. They use photographs in their tableaux vivants not only as a basis for performance but also as the visual documentation of an action. Adolescents play a leading part in their paintings, photographs and 'living sculptures' (motionless actors who resemble the figures in their paintings). At the threshold of adulthood, and clad in sports or casual clothes, they appear in urban non-places and in interiors. The artists draw their images from fashion and lifestyle magazines, and transform them into figures without an identity whose appearance bears a hint of Christian iconography. Mottos and catch-phrases are written in the margins of their paintings. They function as captions to the work and originate from the artists' continually growing archives. The white margin, an important feature of the images of Muntean/Rosenblum, implies that the work is not merely appropriated, that it is not meant to be taken at face value, and that it is not complete. Muntean/Rosenblum's approach to pictorial composition suggests that their paintings consist of several invisibly joined fragments, as in digital photography where the shadows do not correspond to the figures and where there is hardly any apparent contour or space between adjacent bodies or surfaces. Each element of the painting exists in a space of its own and is strangely isolated from its surrounding context. Muntean/Rosenblum attempt to distill a sense of spirituality from the superficial, alienating spectacle of consumer culture, in which the highest value is 'appropriate' behaviour - everybody doing the same. Construction and transformation are the magic passwords here: they do not allow reality to become too tangible or come too close.’ (Press release De Appel) Catalogue: Muntean/Rosenblum. To Die For, 2002. De Appel, Gallery Georg Kargl, Vienna, Interim Art, London. Text Cerith Wyn Evans, Adam Szymczyk, Muntean/Rosenblum. Dutch & English. 128 pp. f.c. 19.5 x 24 cm. Design I. Boom / S. Beeren. ISBN 90 73501 57 1. € 25,-.

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