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Donya Aalipour, Louise Deininger, Arbi Jaballah, Fabian Köttl and Dzvinya Podlyashetska

Melange is a Viennese specialty. That is why it is also called “Viennese Melange”. 

A melange consists of specific ingredients, each of which has its own identity, differs in color, aroma, taste, with individually different effects on body, mind and soul. 

By combining the individual parts in the melange, nothing remains as it was before. The various components can still be traced back to their individuality. But in their combination, they take on a new form. They change each other in their community. 

In the melange, no part subordinates itself to the others. The melange is plurality. It creates a new whole, in which the previously individual elements are still present as identity-forming substance and produce a new uniqueness in the composition. 

We can therefore view the Viennese melange as a simple metaphor for how everything – through its combination with other things – is substantially preserved and at the same time fundamentally changed. Even in society.

We are experiencing what the philosopher Isolde Charim calls “the new pluralization” in our society. Not only a pluralization of lifestyles, but also a pluralization of the population. The ethnic diversity that has emerged in our society is changing the whole of society and each individual. Former national typifications are losing their significance. They determine our affiliation less. Instead, we move and understand ourselves through diverse cultural milieus. 

“Pluralization is changing the way we relate to others and it is changing the way we relate to ourselves…. Today, no one can live their culture as if there were no other culture,” notes Isolde Charim. There is no longer a world view that is seen, or rather designed, in the same way by everyone. Diversity determines our identity. There is no longer a national dominant culture. No one can dictate to others what “normal” should be. 

This creates new freedoms. Of course, they are accompanied by new uncertainties. Familiar identity structures are shaken. Individuality has to be redefined in a new social context. This is a challenge for everyone. Some react by setting themselves apart. They want to push back pluralization. Others, on the other hand, proclaim “The Beauty of Diversity”. But diversity must be touching and must not be experienced as a threat, but as an enrichment. Those who want to impose their world view on others and fight those who do not submit to them with verbal or even physical violence are a real threat. 

We can only discover the benefits of diversity in direct encounters – the beauty as well as all the inspiring impulses it offers. What we need for this, according to Charim: “A meeting zone that is a space of differences – where different people can be the same”.

AG18 Gallery aims to create such a meeting zone with its diversity offerings. This time with the exhibition “Wiener Melange”. It shows four artists who live and work in Vienna, who represent diversity as an ensemble and who can say together: “We are Vienna”