Mortadella: Karoline Dausien, Joakim Martinussen and Thea Moeller
Mortadella is a product composed by various kinds of pig meet, chopped and pressed together in three steps; subsequently, fat cubes and spices are added in order to achieve a sweeter flavour and a unique taste. Various kinds of meet, therefore, are put together and the result is unique, homogeneous, compact. This is the premise that originates Mortadella, a collaboration between Vin Vin, Vienna and Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Rome.
The project involves three artists living and working in Vienna: Karoline Dausien (b.1986, Bremen), Joakim Martinussen (b. 1984, Trømso, Norway), Thea Moeller (b. 1985, Hannover). Karoline Dausien work, realised with leather, plastic materials, ceramics, etc., often contains drawings that actually become three dimensional objects, with a purely sculptural dignity to them. We could de ne Dausien a “non-research” artist, according to how accidentally / casually the objects, motives and subjects ow into her practice; and the viewer is free to see in that elements a sharp message, a narrative, or simply a humouristic, non- sense attitude. Dausien uses the sewing technique on purpose, also as a reaction/resistance to the people who see that technique as something purely feminine or even matronal.
This conscious choice, together with the refusal of an over-the-top aesthetic and with the need to fight any idea of absoluteness allow to state that Dausien is an artist in a constant “subtle protest”. From Dausien’s humoristic faces and surrealistic motives to the drawings represented by Martinussen on the coffee machines, to the use itself of the coffee machines, the two practices of Dausien and Martinussen are linked by a sharp and conscious sense of humour, never as an end in itself. Joakim Martinussen used professional coffee machines for this project, where the interesting aspect is the mix between the machines aesthetic sharpness with gestural interventions on them that are less sharp and precise; we could de ne it a “home-made” industrial aesthetic. Martinussen practice is originated by the tension between discipline and laziness, productivity and “doing nothing”, a “macho” aesthetic and a certain eccentric attitude. His choice of using coffee machine is a practical example of the above mentioned tension: coffee as an element linked both to the ideas of productivity on one hand and relax on the other hand.
Through the juxtaposition of motives, gestures, words, elements, Martinussen investigates the possibility to modify or cancel meanings. Also in Thea Moeller practice there is a strong interest in industrial and post-consumer materials but with a different perspective, more rough: rooftop/tar sheets, bitumen, rubber, foil, liquids, wood, concrete, foam, often are used as found objects, as they are, without any intervention and Moeller explores the common qualities of the materials and the related possibilities to associate them and put them together. As in Martinussen, also in Moeller there is a tension/balance (or “imbalance”?) and the works seems to appear as an improvised sketch, an idea, a model for the realisation of a further and definitive gesture. Moeller structures appear as cut out pieces of architecture or furniture, like houses, constructions sites, modernist architecture, rooftops, skateparks, swimming pools, tables or shelfs: the artist reduces, eliminates the objects function that therefore acquire an abstract and quintessential quality to them. The arrangement of an object from a context to a completely different one, gives it a new meaning and it allows to become a new object: space is a determinant element in Moeller practice. Mortadella is sculptural practice, critically humoristic attitude, industrial aesthetic, a consciously rough gesture, tension between apparently opposite elements, and, more over, it is non-absoluteness.