Bob van Orsouw


Let it come down

06 Apr - 25 May 2013

Armen Eloyan,
Where are you?
Oil on canvas,
60 x 50 cm / 23 5/8 x 19 5/8 inches. Courtesy Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich
The dramatic catharsis in Act three of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is adumbrated by a reference to the inexorable power of natural events when Banquo’s remark, „It will be rain to-night.“ is met by his murderer‘s terse, „Let it come down.“ immediately preceding the act of murder. The atmospheric tension of calm before the storm is torn by an action whose icy, inexorable objectivity may be read as the crystalline core of tragedy. The current popularity of post-apocalyptic film and media scenarios may hint at our increasing fascination with the tragic collapse of natural and social systems. To some degree it may also be seen as a sign that some of us seem to welcome the liberating potential of such game-changing, cataclysmic events, wishing for a storm to destroy the leaden certainty of current systems of social, political and economic control – perhaps also because we would become witnesses to a quasi-transcendental event that might release the permanent tension of autonomy and self-control.

Such an event may already have occurred in a presentation designed by Muntean/Rosenblum especially for Galerie Bob van Orsouw. The spectator is confronted with the large painting of a post-industrial ruin around which young people linger. The mood is that of calm after a storm. The piece pays homage to Caspar David Friedrich and his emblematic landscape painting, The Sea of Ice/The Wreck of Hope. In analogy to the artists‘ interest in forms of pathos in representations of the human body, the landscape itself carries an immensely urgent emotional message.
The sculptural tableau created for this specific gallery space represents the remainders of an architectural structure that was demolished, or may have crumbled. In this sense the scene oscillates between references to the destruction of something old and the creation of space for that which is to come. Its neutral colour and position in space transform this kind of ruin into a model and stage for a performative intervention choreographed by Muntean/Rosenblum. In extremely precise fashion, Let it come down – a kind of present-day memento mori – stages its subjects‘ complex attempts to manage their existence overshadowed by the awareness of their own insignificance.

Markus Muntean (b. 1962 in Graz, Austria) and Adi Rosenblum (b. 1962 in Haifa, Israel) have collaborated since 1992; they both live and work in Vienna, Austria. Some of their important recent exhibitions include The Management of Insignificance, CAC Málaga, Spain; Between what was and what might be, Essl Museum Klosterneuburg, Austria; MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; Tate Britain, Art Now, London, UK; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria.

Tags: Muntean / Rosenblum