Wien Kunst

MQ Salon. Exhibition: Oasis

Environmental catastrophes and bleak prognoses for the future of life on earth – the climate crisis has become part of our everyday life, and is determining our life reality to an ever-greater extent. Our emotional relationship to nature is thus often burdened with guilt, since we human beings are responsible for the destruction of our environment.

Even if there is the will to bring about a sustainable society, the political and individual scope for action nonetheless has its limits. The oscillation between power and powerlessness that results from this is shaping philosophical, ethical-moral, and spiritual discourses and raises questions that occupy many individuals.

In their artistic work, Karina Mendreczky and Katalin Kortmann Járay take up animist motifs and conceptual worlds. Animism is based on the belief that all elements in nature, both living creatures and inanimate objects have a spiritual essence. While animist thought has always been a central component of many indigenous religions, it is also currently being given new attention in Western societies: as a relationship to the world that emphasizes the mutual interdependency of all things, that regards the boundaries between species, between oneself and the world as fluid. Since with the environmentally destructive lifestyles of the present, a relationship to the world that is based on differentiation, objectification, and hierarchization becomes questionable.

Oasis is a subtly composed, extensive installation of sculptures, photographs, printed textiles, and drawings that is supplemented with a sound component. In it, Mendreczky (*1988 in Budapest, Hungary) and Kortmann Járay (*1986 Budapest, Hungary) take up both spiritual narratives and personal family histories and translate them into unusual pictures and objects that seem alien and familiar to us at the same time. Besides set pieces from nature like shells and sand, the space is populated with hybrid creatures with human traits and plant characteristics or that represent a merging of animal and object. They are free interpretations of elements and motifs from old fairy tales and myths. There are also spiritual-religious symbols such as the pomegranate, date palms, or folded hands, as well as historical photographs from family albums in which a particular aura is inherent. Female figures are positioned in various places in the space and sustain the mystical scenery. As a whole, the objects form a magical-seeming, fairytale-like arrangement, a sort of surreal cabinet of curiosities that evokes the interconnectedness of all beings.

Exhibition: Karina Mendreczky & Katalin Kortmann Járay. Oasis
Exhibition duration: 23.02. – 07.05.2023

Location: MQ Salon, MuseumQuartier Vienna