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26 March 2024

The Städel Museum in Frankfurt offers a first look at the exhibition 'Mirror Of Thoughts' by the Vienna-based artist duo Muntean/Rosenblum, focusing on places of transit and young people

The Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, recently gave a first glimpse of the exhibition 'Muntean/Rosenblum. Mirror Of Thoughts', which will be on view from May 3 to December 1, 2024. It's announced that a collection of eleven large-scale paintings and a video work by Markus Muntean (born 1962 in Graz, Austria) and Adi Rosenblum (born 1962 in Haifa, Israel) will be shown. They have been working together since 1992 and live in Vienna. The works of Muntean/Rosenblum have been shown in museums and galleries around the world, including the MoMA, Museum of Modern Art in New York, the MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna, and the Parkview Museum, Beijing.

The collection of artworks presented in 'Mirror Of Thoughts' at the Städel Museum showcases various places of transit, such as shopping malls, airports, hotels, and offices, with young protagonists lost in thought or engaged in mundane activities. The titles of the exhibited works have a significant meaning in relation to the scenes depicted. For example, the title 'Mirror Of Thoughts' suggests a reflection of the inner contemplation and introspection portrayed by the characters in the paintings. This reflects the theme of the transition from adolescence to adulthood, which is depicted as a state of limbo characterized by lethargy and indifference. The titles serve as a lens through which viewers can interpret the works, inviting them to contemplate the ambivalence of human existence and the transient nature of modern life.

The concept of 'non-places,' as explored by the artists, underpins their working principle. These non-places, according to anthropologist Marc Augé, lack a specific identity or history, echoing the ambivalence portrayed in the artworks. The figures depicted in the transit spaces lose their individual identities and become mere passengers or customers, highlighting themes of anonymity and loneliness in contemporary society. Through their approach to figurative painting, Muntean/Rosenblum challenge traditional notions of authorship and perception. By drawing from a shared archive of imagery and presenting surreal, collaged scenes, they blur the lines between reality and illusion. The titles of the artworks, often quotes from literary works, add another layer of complexity, inviting viewers to interpret the scenes based on their own thoughts and associations. Overall, the titles of the artworks exhibited in 'Mirror Of Thoughts' contribute to the overarching theme of introspection, transition, and the complexities of modern existence that Muntean/Rosenblum explore in their thought-provoking paintings.

Image: 'Untitled ("Knowledge would not necessarily…")' from 2023 by Muntean/Rosenblum (both *1962). Oil, pastel on canvas, 195 x 293 cm; Jorge M. Pérez Collection, Miami; © Muntean/Rosenblum. Photo: © Sandro E.E. Zanzinger Photographie 2023.
The writing below the painting: "Knowledge would not necessarily serve them, nor would it make them happy. There was a chance it would instead throw light on visions they did not want to see". It's one of the paintings that will be shown at the exhibition 'Muntean/Rosenblum. Mirror Of Thoughts', on view from May 3 to December 1, 2024 at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany; preview on

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