Aktionsradius, Vienna

In May 2016 Jonathan Meuli will be exhibiting at the Aktionsradius in Vienna.
The show will be based round 12 new abstract paintings designed for the space. They are provisionally titled on the theme of elementary particles.


Frierike Mayröcker's poems: cover illustration from a drawing by Linde WaberThere will also be one of his Friederike Mayröcker series … The background: a few years ago I saw the illustration on the cover of a book of poems by Friederike Mayröcker. The drawing is of Mayröcker’s studio in Vienna, by Linde Waber.

I found it such an interesting drawing that I emailed Linde out of the blue and went to Vienna to meet her. She welcomed me open-heartedly. It was this connection that led me to title a recent group of paintings with texts after Friederike Mayröcker. I have used poetry either in my paintings or as titles for paintings from around 2000, so this group of Mayröcker paintings was a memory, made in Glasgow, of my visit to Linde in Vienna.

All the Mayröcker paintings are titled either from Mayröcker poems or with phrases from an interview with Mayröcker in PN Review. By an irony (poetry is the most ephemeral of the arts) most of the Mayröcker paintings, after they were finished and titled, turned out to be ephemeral as well. They use fugitive pigments – fluorescent ones, and they are doomed to fade, some of them almost completely. (This wasn’t intentional: the pigments were marketed as having good permanence and light-fastness, but I have done light tests which show that they are completely fugitive). They can’t be repainted – and so they sit in darkness, protected from the light which will kill them.

Perhaps, though, they are better like this. Perhaps the fugitive nature of these paintings matches with the fugitive nature of poetry in a way which binds art and poetry together more closely than they ever could have been otherwise. Should I remodel them and and exhibit them as concept pieces? … make boxes for them, with wooden doors, which you would have to open to see the painting, and which, when closed, would protect them from the light which will destroy them … I had made frames for most of the paintings that are themselves all individually designed. The board on which the little painting “The void never fills” is sitting is an old drawing board of my mother, who has finally ceased to use it herself as very old age and arthritis have taken away her ability to draw. She was born in the same year as Mayröcker.