Martin Chramosta: ZUCKERSALZ
29 May - 26 June , 2024

Opening: 29 May, Wednesday, 6pm
Text: Lea Novák
The exhibition is on view until: 26 June, 2024

In Taoism, the yin yang motive refers to the combination of two opposing forces and the resulting universal balance that is the basic principle of nature, human relationships and the universe. At the same time, in East-Central European thought, there are many contradictions: socialist architectural values in a capitalist world, the meeting of East and West, the romanticisation of Eastern Europeanism through aesthetics, the eclipse of traditional values in a place filled with tradition, the demolition of the iconic Café Urania near the Prater in Vienna. Such irreconcilable and unjustifiable contradictions haunt Orwell's world in 1984, with its perpetual battle between Oceania and Eurasia and its complete inversion of political messages in practice. The yin yang here in East-Central Europe remains rather a bittersweet concept of existence, <Zuckersalz>, which is both joy and sorrow, sweet and salty at the same time. A bittersweet existence is a way of coping, a tendency to find favorable conditions in an unfavorable world, but also a constant struggle between opposites.
In his work, Martin Chramosta brings together several worlds, in the process balancing Alpine identity with Bohemian roots. In his exhibition Zuckersalz, the mix of different shapes, materials and compositions creates a harmonious unity. In the meeting of personal and public space, he subtly reaches back to the values of the past, in a world where a pseudo-nostalgic feeling is present in many of us for a long-gone world we have not experienced. Chramosta attempts to expand our perception of past and present, to bridge the gap between our time and the aesthetics of times gone by. He plays with the decorative role of public art, appropriating its formal world, suggesting in a different context that these public elements no longer have the same function as when they were placed. This appropriation is also true of found objects: the ruins of Café Urania in Vienna carry a real piece of the past as well as a crystalline substance: a new basic product hybrid, sugar mixed with salt- Sugarsalt.
The encounter of nature and natural elements with raw, industrial materials in these worn, yet well-formed works creates a sense of clarity, but also of confusion. He makes bold use of the method of mirroring, through which he is able to shift the space, creating a symmetry between the works while reflecting socialist aesthetics and the capitalist method of appropriation.
Martin Chramosta (1982) holds an MFA from Institut Kunst / HGK Basel, where he graduated in 2011. He also studied in the free class of the Academy of fine Arts in Vienna and studied and tought at Sculpture and Space Department at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna until 2017. Since then, he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, participated in the Art Quarter Budapest residency programme in 2020 and 2021 and was a fellow of the Swiss Institute in Rome in 2022. He had a solo exhibition at Horizont Gallery in 2020 entitled Aper. In the following years he had solo exhibitions at Stiege 13 (Vienna), Vitrine Gallery (Basel) and Künstlerhaus (Bregenz).

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Photo: Dávid Biró