The two artists, Markus Muntean (*1962, Graz, Austria) and Adi Rosenblum (*1962, Haifa, Israel), have collaborated since the 1990s. They impressively combine their identities into one artistic signature style in their mainly painted oeuvre. In a solo exhibition, the Städel Museum presents eleven large-scale paintings and a video work by the international artist duo.
The pictorial world of the artist duo Muntean/Rosenblum depicts shopping centres, airport terminals and offices in which young people come together and yet are nevertheless alone. Lost in their own thoughts, they concentratedly focus on their smartphones or stare off into the distance, are in motion or look at the viewer with boredom or irritation. Set amidst anonymous yet familiar urban backdrops, the dramatically staged young people look like isolated extras in a contemporary theatre performance.
Their compositions are firmly established in art history, referring to famous masterpieces from the Renaissance to Modernism. Their figures, however, are taken entirely from the present. They stem from an image archive established over many years fed by photographs from lifestyle magazines, the internet or models. Collaged together from this rich picture collection, Muntean/Rosenblum create distinctive scenes using the painting medium. Strange and simultaneously familiar, the paintings reflect an atmosphere of lethargy and indifference. It is a painful but liberating moment that marks the transition from youth to adulthood—a state of limbo. As if looking through a magnifying glass, Muntean/Rosenblum address central topics of our time: the ambivalence of human existence, the growing uncertainty of the individual and a pervading feeling of transitoriness.
Svenja Grosser (Deputy Head of Contemporary Art, Städel Museum)