With the exhibition of Ernst Caramelle, Portikus Frankfurt takes the opportunity for the third time to present a prize-winner of the renowned Reinhold Kurth Art Prize of the Frankfurt Sparkasse (Savings Bank).

Ernst Caramelle, born 1952 in Hall, Tyrol, lives and works in Frankfurt and New York. Since his first exhibitions in the mid-70s, he has created a diverse oeuvre that effortlessly shifts between various media and materials: his artistic means of expression encompass drawings, light pictures (using sunlight and coloured paper), photographs and video works, as well as wall paintings and spatial installations.

He especially focuses on the contexts of art, either on the site-specific circumstances of the respective exhibition space itself, or - in a more general sense - on the conditions of artistic production and reception. However, this never takes place in the form of a sober, intellectual discourse, but is always accompanied by the very own humour, the ambiguity and poetic power for which the name Ernst Caramelle stands.

Caramelle created a work specially for Portikus which unfolds in several complexes encapsulated within each other. On the one hand, the spatial circumstances of the exhibition hall trigger wall-paintings which in turn initiate a sort of spatial reflection.

The illusionary character of the paintings, on the other hand, is emphasised, but also refracted by an object in the room: emphasised, because the object appears as a repoussoir; refracted, because it can also be viewed as an over-sized face, the physiognomy of which is in constant change... The "eyes" of the object consist of two tiny monitors showing the daily television programme; the changing light in the scenes effect the changing physiognomy. Watching therefore equally implies being watched; the visible is posed as a question in the physiognomic vis-à-vis.

Finally, there are 6 display cases with drawings in the room. Viewing these opens an additional, more intimate space of artistic investigation, in which the disturbances created in the real room are expanded and intensified.

Photo: Katrin Schilling