Philip Mueller is enjoying a second solo show

A young Austrian artist, Philip Mueller, whose gallery describes his painting as a "shamanistic ritual" that is carried out in a "dungeon" and one where every canvas "initiates a rite of passage" is showing the second in a three part series at Carbon 12 in Alserkal Avenue.

Philip Mueller in front of his work I Ate Myself Today. Courtesy Carbon 12 Dubai
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A young Austrian artist whose gallery describes his painting as a “shamanistic ritual” that is carried out in a “dungeon” and one where every canvas “initiates a rite of passage” is showing the second in a three-part series at Carbon 12 in Alserkal Avenue.

Philip Mueller, who is in his early 20s and is enjoying his second solo show with Carbon 12, says that My Father was Many and I am Happy as a Sailor is an exploration into the fundamental questions of life such as where are we coming from and where are we going?

How would you consider this show to be an evolution from previous ones?

Both my themes and my technique evolve constantly. I think that’s one of the most important things in contemporary painting. In contrast to the first solo exhibition at Carbon 12 (Eat when you can, sleep when you can), this is more reduced in terms of hanging: I decided to do so because the new paintings are so strong that they need space to be seen as singles.

This is a three-part show; part one is in your solo booth at Art Cologne and part three will follow this one at Carbon 12. How are the three linked?

All works of the three parts were produced in the past six months. The topic is the same for each part and the figures and stories in the paintings work and correspond throughout the paintings. It is a three-part show in terms of topic and because I produced all the shows together, but each show also works for itself.

What does the title mean and who are the many fathers?

The exhibition is about our schizophrenic handling with our past, our heroes or antiheroes and with what they left us behind. My fathers are figures I created, or historic persons who I have chosen to be my fathers.

What is your primary motivation as an artist?

To live for something that I agree with, beauty, freedom and cold, clear water.

Does your work address the commonality that we are all searching for the meaning of our existence?

It is more like living for something than searching for a meaning of our existence. We are here, that’s the way it is, and now everyone has to get along with that fact.

You are still really young; do you find your work constantly changing because of this?

I hope that my work will still be changing when I am old, but I will not try to control it. I will just work.

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