Photo Gallery: Identity Formed Through Mass Media

Working collaboratively since 1992, Markus Muntean and Adi Rosenblum, the creative duo behind Muntean/Rosenblum, make realistic paintings of melancholic youths caught up in narratives of urban banality and angst. Composed from a mix of appropriated magazine photos and classical poses culled from art history, their pictures are rendered with rounded corners, which lends them a cartoon-like look, and captioned to add both an introspective voice and an ambiguous philosophical point of view.

Shown by galleries in London, New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and San Francisco, their work is currently on view in “Breaking the conventions, with breaking conventions” at Georg Kargl Fine Art in Vienna through August 14. Blending figures from fashion and lifestyle publications with Western civilization art references and idealistic phrases poached from novels and magazines, their paintings and drawings, as well as the installation remains of a performance piece, reveal an existing artificial realm of life, which is devoid of spirituality.

The painting Untitled (It is better…) portrays a tender couple of indeterminate sex embracing on a bed in a sparse room, and is captioned “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not,” while Untitled (Reality is that…) captures two youths sleeping on a sofa and the floor below it. The contrast between the two figures in the latter canvas is dramatic, as the person on the sofa rests in a prenatal position and the soul on the floor flails his body back to resemble a slain warrior or saint. Adding to the uncertainty, he haunting caption reads: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

The performance, which occurred during the opening on June 29, featured a young man atop a pile of rubble speaking to the crowd while surrounded by a brigade in riot gear. The agitator told listeners, “We all go into the dark…art collectors, waste collectors, trendsetters…” while not so much rallying them to a cause but filling their heads with empty jargon, pulled from the dreamy, media-saturated paths we walk.

Click through below for a gallery of images.

Muntean/Rosenblum, Untitled (It is better...), 2010. Oil on canvas, 72 x 80 cm. Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna Photo:Lisa Rastl