We are delighted to present „The Always Never-Yet“, a new exhibition by Muntean/Rosenblum at Galerie Ron Mandos running from 30 September through 29 October.

The Vienna-based artist-duo Markus Muntean (AT, 1962) and Adi Rosenblum (IL, 1962) draw inspiration from the relentless passage of time and the state of expectancy that defines many people’s daily lives in ,,The Always Never-Yet.” Here, they explore pathos — the art of evoking emotions to engage viewers — fully embracing the viewer’s ideals and harnessing symbols and visual formations to evoke intense emotional energy. In a world where pathos often resides in popular entertainment and advertising, Muntean/Rosenblum aim to revive its potency in fine art.

In the artwork Untitled (,,Knowledge would not necessarily…”), young people appear somewhat adrift on an escalator within what seems to be a shopping mall. This superficially mundane scene carries an unsettling atmosphere, reflecting the peculiar nature of our everyday existence. It highlights how the ordinary, like a shopping mall, can acquire an eerie quality, evoking unexpected emotions. These paintings often incorporate captions from poetry, such as Michael Hamburger’s work, to evoke unforeseen associations, deepening the emotional resonance of their pieces.

Gestures play a central role in their exploration of expression; the series artfully blends contemporary TikTok movements with expressive motions found in classic paintings. This infusion of modernity extends further, merging references from Christian iconography, Kabbala, classical and contemporary masterpieces, street culture, and rap. Their work bridges tradition and innovation, offering a fresh perspective on the enduring power of pathos in the digital age.

Muntean/Rosenblum’s work transcends mere aesthetics, inviting viewers to appreciate the intricacies of composition, the sources of their models and landscapes, the allure of their figures, and the meticulous craftsmanship they employ. This attention to form and detail serves as a gateway to understanding the multifaceted, clever nature of their art, which delves deeply into the collective human condition. In an era of digital communication, it underscores the importance of shared struggles in human connection, like the universal frustration of waiting in an airport, depicted in one of their paintings, or the isolation felt by individuals engrossed in their phones while surrounded by others.

Their art captures the subtlety of human interaction, akin to interpreting facial expressions or spoken cadence. It serves as a reminder that beneath daily routines, truths await discovery. They can be found in the emotions we experience when confronted with the disconcerting and the familiar simultaneously, the feelings of lostness amid the ordinary, and the eerie beauty that emerges from this juxtaposition.

ABOUT Muntean / Rosenblum

Markus Muntean was born in 1962 in Graz, Austria. Adi Rosenblum was born in 1962 in Haifa, Israel.
Muntean/Rosenblum live and work in Vienna, the city where they met while studying at the end of the 1980s. The artists have collaborated since 1992.

Large-scale painting is one of the core aspects of their practice. However, they often expand their work by creating large installations with sculptural elements where performances are staged or films screened. In addition, they make drawings as well as collages with texts and photographs.

In their work, Muntean/Rosenblum mix references to art history and present-day popular culture. They mostly depict groups of apparently lethargic or melancholic young people in idle situations, which are either ordinary and everyday or mysterious and ambiguous. The often-dreamy scenes take place in rooms, public spaces or landscapes as if part of a film, presenting unresolved situations in the making. The characters seem to adopt postures copied from fashion magazines, or from paintings originating from the renaissance to the nineteenth century. Their work is frequently accompanied by captions or texts not-directly relating to the depicted scene, adding another layer of complexity. The artists themselves described their work as ‘precise ambiguity’. By playing with visual codes from the past and the present, Muntean/Rosenblum scrutinise the power of images and how these constitute an overwhelming collective memory.

Work by Muntean/Rosenblum has been exhibited widely in international museums, institutions and galleries. Recent solo exhibitions were at Espacio Marte, Mexico City (2020); MAC, Coruña (2018); MOCAK, Krakow (2018); Group exhibitions they recently participated in were, among others, at Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2019); Kunsthaus Graz (2018); Nam June Paik Art Centre, Gyeonggi-do (2018); The Parkview Museum, Singapore (2017); and Oude Kerk, Amsterdam (2016). Their work is included in both private and public collections, such as the MoMA, New York NY; the Albertina, Vienna; 21c Museum, Louisville, KY; the KRC Collection, Voorschoten; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL, and Cobra to Contemporary/The Brown Family Collection. In 2022 the artist duo will mount an exhibition at the Albertina Museum, in Vienna, Austria.