For her show [griàsde] she depicts the myth of the Matterhorn with its overwhelming nature and reputation of being extremely dangerous and with only a handful of people ever climbing to the summit. In dialect the Matterhorn is just called horn which Kuen in the word variation cornucopia „[ˈkɔrnuː]“ picks as title for her new series of paintings. A cornucopia is a symbol for luck and abundance and serves as an open form to be filled individually with the things the heart desires, comparable to the abundance of nature. The ideas of the sky being the limit and climbing a mountain to be closer to god, reveal man’s search for spirituality in nature.
The Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Etel Adnan was once asked on television who the most important person she ever met was, she answered: “A mountain.” Kuen, like Adnan (who with her art reacted to places she called home) incorporates her roots in her artworks. Her exhibition and work titles are in Bavarian dialect, with phonetic spelling in the written form. Dialect as a language variation provokes feelings of both belonging and estrangement. Similarly to Adnan, Kuen has a poetic approach to painting, cherishing nature as a source for abstraction. With endless possibilities of form combinations Kuen directs the viewer’s eyes over the canvas, challenging the perception with layers, brushstrokes and traces of paint.
Even though Kuen’s work osscilates beween figuration and abstraction, she still aims to depict what our eye perceives as real. Since she is aware of the history of abstract art she incorporates elements of Hans Hartung’s work, he produced as a member of the Art Informel movement, as well as she refers to the form experiments of the Abstract Expressionists. Kuen’s collage-like layering partly credits Lee Krasner’s artistic language who once stated: „All my work keeps going like a pendulum; it seems to swing back to something I was involved with earlier, or it moves between horizontality and verticality, circularlity, or a composite of them. For me, I suppose, that change is the only constant.“
Anna Kuen depicts an image by resolving its elements, letting our sight get caught in small abstract details so we can put them back together by looking from a distance, seeing it in its whole figurative composition. With multilayered paintings and through the accumulation of forms, she captures contradictions like longing and distance, which humans in civilized urban societies experience in the face of nature. In Kuen’s work, mountains serve as metaphors for making sense of our human existence since they seem to prevail throughout the centuries.
Exhibition: Anna Kuen [griàsde] curated by Susann Rezniczek
Exhibition duration: 18.11.2022 till 24.11.2022
Finissage 24.11. at 17:00 – 21:00
Location: CRAMA, Triftstraße 66, 13353 Berlin
Anna Kuen – www.annakuen.de, www.instagram.com/ann_kuen/, www.labandeberlin.com/lookbookcol04