on Ute Müller at Galerie Dana Charkasi




In a city so sensitive to shades of grey, the ‘Back in 5 minutes.’ exhibition at Galerie Dana Charkasi defines Ute Müller as a uniquely discerning painter working in Vienna.  Showing muted, dark, matt paintings under her particular studio lighting conditions, Müller describes an atmosphere reflective of the city’s established fineness and griminess.  Likewise, in each painting and throughout the full installation, Müller imparts a deceptively easy aesthetic of elegance.

Müller uses her warm grey palette of tempera paint on canvas to build up and also to excavate a central geometric composition.  The ground of each painting is covered in variations of deep matt greys, which are sometimes the result of her painting over and adjusting the surface as she arranges the composition.   Within these grey fields, lighter color values delineate geometric lines extracted from combinations of drawings of objects and architecture.  Müller uses these lines to form numerous and varied angles of perception.  Within the geometric constructions, these views and angles suggest cubism, but by portraying expansive spaces, spaces much broader than the dimensions of the canvases, Müller locates a position of making a re-presentation of classical painting, plus with an inherent attractiveness.

Instead of the gallery’s lamps, Müller mounts her personal vertical neon fixtures to light the paintings.  From these lamps stem winding cables that lay on the floor, a utilitarian form as the artists says she needs the cables to be long so she may plug them into sockets at various distances and to move the lamps around the studio.  In the first room of the gallery is a hanging slotted curtain painted grey, making a chilly though alluring welcome, a pertinent opener to Müller’s works.

Galerie Dana Charkasi, A-1010 Vienna, Fleischmarkt 11, Griechenbeisl-House, 2nd Floor, 10.09. –  06.11.2009

-Ezara Spangl

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