All or nothing
They are all there now. But I have already seen the exhibition. Alone. Before the opening. Everything I tell you now is a secret – don‘t tell anybody.
Most works of the exhibition are part of a series called „all or nothing“. Every single picture is a moment. A moment which is very important for a participant, for everyone and all the others – or it can also be just without any meaning. A moment that can bear something wonderful or something trivial, a moment that can muddle up the the continuum between space and time or can also just go past without leaving a trace. Or are these moments being static forever without any change ?
So what ? All or nothing, what does this moment bring ?
You will find the answer looking at the actors, places, things and circumstances in the pictures.
The actors there meet accidentally and the results are points of contact, contacts and constellations reaching from harmony to absurdity.
The astronaut, the rocket or the sattelite act without any traction, light or sound. The female figure is weightless and without any worry as long as she goes down. But as soon as she accidentally appears she is ordinary and not binding and when she is naturally present she is reality.
The fish and the toad are the origin, the beginning and the eternity. Life and sexuality. Fox and polar bear bring greed, craftiness and the will to survive into the moment, the horse brings sincere love and force.
The actors find secureness and shelter in the woods, the wind gives them all a chance but no certanty, a bigger meaning and a change.
These were now the keyes to identify, to interpret or to invent the moments – all or nothing, it lies with the viewer.
Yours, Edward Snowden
With her work Mela Kaltenegger gaily dissolves the borders between humor and seriousness, she is walking along the borderline with wit and self – irony high up on the ridge of the roof. She falls into galopp somemetimes without keeping a leg on the ground, the moment when everything is floating, her work is visible and perceptible.
Her work shows difficult stories and airy death in a fabulous and modern way, centuries away but also very close and now. You can see eternity and gentleness hopelessness and the end at the same time. Loneliness, death and love all in one past and future perspective. Ignoring time with courage and naughtyness and with the viennese grumpy charme, building up new wayward compositions patched up from fragments.
The artist and her work deal with questions about self-perception, the status of femininity is focused with irony.
Half a thing
The magician saws up the virgin which lies in front of him. Part of some good jokes if the trick goes wrong. Here the artist Mela Kaltenegger has sawed up a woman. And it did not go wrong, the woman is neatly divided into two parts exactly in her middle.
The woman has a lot behind her. Once laying in pieces and fragments she was patched up again neatly.
Her upper half is all right now, making a headstand. Or did it fall – has it been overthrown? Damned? A relaxed, fallen angel.
The bottom half is located somewhere else. Maybe it needs to be looked for it. On the belly with legs twisted, could not run anymore, only walk with a limp with one stiletto on. Maybe she stumbled and fell, lost one shoe when she had to run away, escape. Luzifer also walks with a limp or wears only one shoe. When you return from the other side you only have one shoe left.
Dr. Birthe Blauth, artist and cultural scientist, 2016
The real reality
The work of Mela Kaltenegger creates stories, Experienced, made up or found stories are put together to a new indivitual reality in connection with desire.
Linear series are told to be broke up to make another truth visible for one short moment. At that a very personal surrounding is adressed where women have a greater meaning than the truth.
Quickly sketches snapshots show a short insertion of the real reality.
The red Shoes
Mela Kaltenegger brings her new work to one point: lust. Passion, eroticism, sex and tempation describe one side of lust, but there is also the other side – intemperance, wickedness, indecency and immoralty are not indispencable.
The term of „lust“ can mean different things at the same time and unite it under one roof. It is impossible to draw a border and an exact determination seems unthinkable.
In connection with the fairy tale „The red Shoes“ Mela Kaltenegger has a lot to tell us about lust. „The red Shoes“ is a very cruel fairy tale about an orphan who gets temptated by a pair of red shoes and as a punishment for the awakening of an unmoral desire to live the girl is forced to dance as long as she let its legs being cut off to be free from this tornment. The fairy tale gives room for many more crazy stories in Kalteneggers pictures with one difference: the artist has much more pity with the girl than the author of the story. She allowes the legs to regrow, allowes the girl to get rid of the red shoes every now and then to come to a rest, to think of something else and forget its force for some time. In the pictures you can see, that the red shoes become independent, have an own life, you can find them everywhere – in the Cafe or under water. They are like a symbol for what life can offer you, but they can also be stuck and not be shaken off.
The red shoes often stand there in the front like a bright red sign for eroticism and temptation. The symbol has an almost threatening character and reminds you not to go to far or exaggerate.
The other side of the medal is also shown - comming to rest and to regret the excessively lust of life, knowing that you have exaggerated. Remembering the moral imagination of the forbidden intemperance. The artist becomes a gentle lover, not lustful but resting, an everyday woman who copes with what she experiences, and disciplines herself and the dog. It is not possible to force the red shoes out of this world – the back of our heads is full of thoughts.
Mela Kaltenegger finds an artistic implementation for her personal enviroment – people and thing being close to her find a place in her painting. Especially the other three members of the women artists group „The 4 Graces“ can be recognized in her work very often. The location is Vienna.
Kaltenegger has a close relationship to lust, passion and fertility, it always had a big meaning for her. Their symbols like rabbits and frogs very often turn up in her work. Her images being portraits or landscapes characterize by strong colours and manyfold patterns.
Mela Kalteneggers actors are all young women: erotic, casual and self – confident is how they move through the picture – stories. With one special preference: Criminal – stories. Kaltenegger is one of the founders of the women artist group „The 4 Graces“, she has graduated the painting and graphic – class by Gunter Damisch and studied together with her three female colleagues at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. They not only have many artistic similarities but also are close friends and have a high ammount of cheerfulness. This year they celebrate the tenth anniversary of their founding.
In the pictures which are shown on the estate of Gasteil now you can see the contrast between a chilly and pale winter atmosphere and an authentic summer beginning. The main part of the work consists of one of Mela Kalteneggers criminal series. One of the mystery games she has for the observer. „Offender“, victim“ „witness“ are only implied, a clear classification is being refused and broken up. There is only one concrete hint – one tipping point: „ One day the truth will be visible...“. Every picture tells a story and is also part of the whole – 20, at most 50 single pictures. Screen printing, graphic and especially painting in Eitempera are the techniques which Mela Kaltenegger uses to transpose her topics. Putting on different colours in layers opens or covers hints, with a fine paintbrush figures are graphically put in the pictures and depending on the right moment during the process of work the figures come out prominently or fade away in the layers of the colours. One part of the background with bright colours, another pastel and calm, the brushstroke always broad representing the mood of the picture. And last but not least the red shoes, taken from Hans Christian Andersens fairy tale „The red shoes“ into her pictures. As a symbol of freedom, rebelliousness, sexuality – in different shapings, very elegant, with a strong erotic connotation – and with a smile again. „Sorry, I have to go to Rome“ the femal protagonist of the picture lets us know, and puts on her scarlet high – heels with an expectant smile, sitting on the forest floor – beeing on her way soon….
Verena Kienast 2012 on the occasion of the exhibition „The wrong shoes“ on the estate Gasteil
„Viennese blood“, life – size, 2016
The horse, the savior, always present. Contact person who always has a solution. A partner who carries you and leads you without hindrance. An elevation in life, a source of power giving love.
„Quantum leap“, life – size, 2016
The red shoe stands for freedom and rebellion, for easiness and the enjoyment of a wonderful world. Shows self confidence, courage and a cheeky will to live.
„The rules have actually been known by everyone“, life – size, 2017
The bull stands for power and energy, fire and earth, for family and peace. Romps about, breaks out but as a matter of fact only chews the grass with boredom.
„Gods of the Olympus“, life – size, 2017
The dog, loyal friend and companion , rescuer and defender. Gives his love unconditionally and without questioning his dedication. A humble creature – we are the whole world for our dog and even more. It loves you to infinity and much further.