With abundant symbolism, references to 19th century Romanticism, as well as to both historical and modern-day icons, we are confronted with stunning intensity of painter Philip Mueller's (b. 1988 Austria) solo booth, and immediately hauled into his intricately fabricated universe, one in which he actively documents and muses upon the affairs of the characters who exist within it. Through skilful technique and allusions to antique mythology, Mueller intrigues with his contemporary renditions on historical timelines which run parallel to one another, connecting fiction to reality.
In this booth, one is surrounded by the presence of sixty or so “classical" representations of the protagonists of Mueller's fictional Beach Resort Tiberio - some guests, employees, familiar faces of times past, and pop culture personalities portrayed in a closely set, salon- hanging style. Layered with various iconographic elements, clad in tattoos with almost forlorn expressions on their faces, these portraits embody the product of a meandering mind and its fantasized narratives, where each visage is an extended detail of this seemingly apocalyptic dreamscape.
The location of the resort, "Santo Stefano", is based on the actual deserted prison-island near Capri, called Santo Stefano, (where Giulia, the daughter of Augustus, was on exile). Exiled from their Alpine environment, Santo Stefano is a haven for Mueller's fictional band of hedonists, the Black Flamingo Sad Boys. Unfazed by the laws of traditional society, they run rampant on the island and chase after their hedonistic desires - seeking, living and fulfilling a culture of excess and thoughtless pleasure.