Two hundred and twenty two

Expo ‘86 Topanga (detail)

2010 by Friedrich Kunath
Freize Art Fair 2010, BQ Berlin

Compared to the subdued painting of Borremans’s (221) at Frieze, Kunath’s one man show in BQ’s booth was a whirlwind of colour, medium and style. L-shaped the booth was an entrance into an imagination, a head of ideas. With a bed in the corner (a bowl full of coloured sweets on the side table), a huge canvas of notepaper on the wall (an enormous pencilled doodle taking it over) and clown’s feet poking surreptitiously out of the bottom of a curtain (with something behind the curtain moving) the whole experience was nothing short of surreal. But then the world of Kunath is fast moving and ever changing, with his works ranging incredibly and exhibitions everywhere and often. This spontaneity that parades his work is reflected in his drawing-like style that creeps beneath the service of many of his canvases. Often subjects are drawn in thin and explorative black lines, coloured only by inky and brightly toned washes – instead of making and thickening matter these simply glide over the subject as a glazing of atmosphere. Focus then, is on the drawing beneath. Here it is fairly bold, stamped in monotone, yet often subject lurks, materialising quietly under a wash of luminescent colour. In this piece colour is bright and various, with light and shadow brought with dilutions and injections – drained pink casts bars of light on the upturned face. The layering and intensity of these colours has a photographic quality, reminding of the pure colour of overlapping lenses. It is reminiscent of Di Sarro’s photographic experiments (see 153) in the ’70s. This colour makes Kunath’s work playful, yet the delicacy and emotional realism of his drawings makes them poignantly haunting. The lion’s eyes are heavily black, weighed in an imagined sadness, looking through a sea of translucent and acidic yellow.


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