Ernst Caramelle 

opening and summer festivity
Friday 30/6/2017 19h

With Ernst Caramelle (*1952 in Hall in Tirol) the Galerie der Stadt Schwaz hosts a Tyrolean artist who has been working successfully on the international level since the 1970s. Ever since the late 1970s he has been developing his artistic concepts in various media formats such as painting, photography, space installation, video, text, drawing or sunlight. From an art historic point of view, especially Caramelle’s particular mural painting technique is a prominent example of how conceptual art and painting can complement each other. Ernst Caramelle has been the principal of the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe (Germany) since 2012. He lives and works alternately in Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, and New York.

In the Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, Caramelle exhibits two series of “images” that all show the same motive of an exhibition situation, however, their characteristic style and dimension vary strongly. One series is executed on various paper formats, the other one is produced directly in-situ as mural paintings.

Moreover, he presents a series of vintage photography never exhibited before in various displays, documenting his early conceptual video work. Both series share a confusing play with visual and spacial illusions that can be found not only in his video work but also in his paper and mural paintings. In both series spaces interlace into eternity, they overlap each other in reality and virtuality, enlarging and narrowing one another.

„If we cannot simply get rid of the white cube, we should try to understand it.” (Brian O’Doherty)

According to Brian O’Doherty’s groundbreaking 1976 essay “Inside the White Cube”, every artist should first of all be aware of the fundamental effects that the “usual exhibition situation”, including the white gallery walls and other conventions, has on their pieces. Ernst Caramelle decided very early to work directly with these walls. With his mural paintings that involve the whole room he transforms the space into an image of coloured surfaces that are literally washed out. However, this is only clearly visible in the empty “Gallery shot”, which O’Doherty called an icon of the 20th century. In times of Instagram and Contemporary Art Daily, this observation has not lost relevance. Ernst Caramelle’s exhibition photographs resemble his small format “Gesso Pieces”. They are paper works with washed off watercolour that he himself calls “quasi paintings”.

Ernst Caramelle’s colour compositions aim at creating shifts in perception that open up between the image of the exhibition and the exhibited images.

text: Cosima Rainer
translation: Christina Muigg
photos: Verena Nagl