• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Ernst Caramelle

Ernst Caramelle is a conceptual artist who integrates various perspectives on the theoretical, visual, linguistic and technical-material levels in order to construct new dynamic relationships between things, ideas, spaces and images. One of Caramelle’s works, which subtly infiltrates Vienna’s public space, provides programmatic and methodic clues to his artistic thinking: a 19th-century shop entrance bears a sign with the words “Uhren – Adolf Roman” [Clocks – Adolf Roman], done in simple, restrained lettering. Since 1988, this sign has been joined by another, formally identical one directly next to it, virtually a twin, on which is written: “Ideen – Ernst Caramelle” [Ideas – Ernst Caramelle]. Caramelle’s work with art, about art, and as art is based on precise ideas and concepts for which formalization he has developed an open system that enables him to examine various contexts, shifting them, often ironically questioning them, and ultimately creating new relational networks. For him, the object is to work productively with questions, not for the purpose of producing seemingly right answers, but rather in order to keep the field of art open as a cognitive process in which the position of the artist, like that of the observer, is just as often at stake as is the idea of the artwork and of art itself.

For Caramelle, since his early beginnings, this has included the integration of photography and video into performative acts and situative settings for the purpose of methodically examining the ideas of reality, time and space, while simultaneously reflecting on the ways in which these media themselves function. In doing so, he positions a video monitor in front of an object, such as a person, a tree or a radiator, so that the monitor covers a certain area of the object. The monitor’s screen, however, produces an image of precisely this covered area, allowing the pictured object to appear complete after all. Video technology is thus employed not in order to reproduce an action or a movement, but rather to simulate a still image and thus shift and interweave various visual elements; it is a medium-specific investigation, which Caramelle characterizes as “completions and disassociations of interrupted reality.”

Further media central to Caramelle’s conceptual thought and work are his drawings, sketches, written pages and printed works. He published around a hundred of his drawings done between 1972 and 1979 under the title "Blätter" [Pages]; in these, he condensed his conceptual ideas into the smallest-possible format with intellectual clarity and poetic wit.


Born in Hall, Austria, 1952.

Caramelle studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Austria), from 1970 to 1976. He lectured at the Städelschule in Frankfurt/Main (Germany) from 1981 to 1983 and at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna from 1986 to 1990. Since 1994 Caramelle is professor at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe (Germany).

Lives and works in Karlsruhe and Frankfurt/Main, Germany, and New York City, USA.

Solo Exhibitions (selection):

2012 “Ernst Caramelle“, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, USA (travelling exhibition)

2011 “Ernst Caramelle - This time, completely abstract“, Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna, Austria

2010 “COMMA 26 - Ernst Caramelle“, Bloomberg Space, London, UK

2009 “Ernst Caramelle“, Nelson-Freeman Gallery, Paris, France

2008 “Double Vision“, Tracy Williams, Ltd, New York City, USA

2006 "Ernst Caramelle“, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany

2005 “All of the printed work 1974-2006“, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal

2002 “Ernst Caramelle“, Barbara Wien Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Group Exhibitions (selection):

2012 “Performing Abstraction“, Luciana Brito Galeria, Sao Paolo, Brazil

2012 “Just Photography“, Martos Gallery, New York City, USA

2010 “Nothing is Forever“, SLG South London Gallery, London, UK

2009 “GAGARIN The Artists in their Own Words“, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium

2008 “Noleftovers“, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Germany

2007 “For a Special Place: Documents and Works from the Generali Foundation Collection”, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York City, USA

2006 “The 1980s - A Topology“, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal

2005 “Traces everywhere“, Tracy Williams, Ltd, New York City, USA

2004 “Le Tableau Contemporain“, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg, France

2003 “Image to print“, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, Slovak Republic

2002 “Variable Pieces. Structures. References. Algorithms“, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Weiermair, Peter, ed. 1981. Blätter: 1973 – 1978. Texts by Jean Christophe Ammann et al. Frankfurt: Frankfurter Kunstverein.

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  • Photo: Adam Sakovy