Müller Moeller Walter at Loggia

Artists: Thea Moeller, Lukas Müller, Johannes Tassilo Walter

Exhibition title: Müller Moeller Walter

Venue: Loggia, Vienna, Germany

Date: August 5 – October 10, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Loggia, Munich/Vienna

The show Müller Moeller Walter at Loggia, Vienna, both heralds the names of the artists involved and at the same time conveys a sense of intimacy and privacy in its title. But we should tread warily around these qualities – and quite to the contrary, not be fooled by their apparent publicness.

A found newspaper clipping presented by Lukas Müller seduces us into a hasty sense of familiarity and security, its yellowed paper and pasted layers, as well as minor handwritten corrections of date and page number, immediately evoking a find from a dusty, long uninhabited teenage bedroom. But the nostalgic melancholy is short-lived: a small, unamended line refers directly back to the present: May 2020, Financial Times Weekend Edition. Wanted Dead or Alive is scrawled directly above in handwriting that has something both childish and militantly harsh about it. As the smallest and initially most inconspicuous work, the reworked newspaper in its multi-layered temporality, also functions as a kind of directive encouraging detective-level attention to the subsequent works.

There is still an anachronistic break between the familiar/intimate and day-to-day publicness in Müller’s work, whereas the private – in the form of painted images of his circle of friends – surreptitiously haunts the layers of Johannes Tassilo Walter’s monochrome works. The paintings on paper entitled Ania, Edi, Leo and Julian are each based on portraits which, after several stages of overpainting, are no longer visible, yet ever-present like a palimpsest. Aside from the personalized titles, the greyish frames – traces of the painterly layering process – also give the abstract paintings the formal appearance of large-format negatives which, if only by association, seem to testify to the evidence of the portraits.

Completely present though is Thea Moeller’s sculpture E106c. Opening benevolently towards the entrance, its semicircular form encloses both the viewer and the eponymous handwritten marking on the inside. The lettering E106c appears delicately encased, as if the rubber and steel were trying to protect the identity and intimacy of the object lent by the handwritten marking and reinforced by the yellowish-black lacquered steel. An approach that is promptly disrupted by the repetition of the title on the outside. The protective aspect of the rubber becomes transient, its nurturing quality thwarted by the attention of the gaze. A process that recurs in Moeller’s work Lamp. Sheltered by the oil pigment stained steel, the titular light bulb illuminates out of a large opening facing the floor. Thus it remains committed to its intimacy while its function is apparent to all and yet again exposed to the regime of the gaze.

The unknown deadbeat in Müller’s Untitled (Eckensteher) (literally corner-boy, figuratively idler) also tries to elude viewers’ attention. It remains unclear whether he, like his Berlin namesake, is hanging around waiting for work or just to get high. Hidden behind floor-to-ceiling camouflage made of raw and white-painted cardboard, the slacker reveals himself only to the most sleuthing public, but then right down to the most intimate twist of his brain – with the meticulous precision of an anatomical skull model.

– Moritz Pisk

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Thea Moeller,  E106c, 2020

Thea Moeller,  E106c, 2020, detail

Thea Moeller,  Lamp, 2020

Thea Moeller,  Lamp, 2020, detail

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Johannes Tassilo Walter, Ania, 2020

Johannes Tassilo Walter, Edi, 2020

Johannes Tassilo Walter, Leo, 2020

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Lukas Müller, Untitled, 2020

Müller Moeller Walter, 2020, exhibition view, Loggia, Vienna

Johannes Tassilo Walter, Julian, 2020

Lukas Müller, Untitled (Eckensteher), 2020

Lukas Müller, Untitled (Eckensteher), 2020

Lukas Müller, Untitled (Eckensteher), 2020