by Susann Rezniczek:
Anna Kuen presents with [griàsde] new works as well as a selection of paintings from 2021. She describes her artistic process as follows: „The topic of a new series usually comes up in the process, while I am painting the first one or two paintings. I do very rough sketches in a sketch book. I also write. I keep a diary of thoughts, poems, single sentences – sometimes only one word – always before I start painting. It is a ritual for me to start my work in the studio. ...“
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.
Text: Susann Rezniczek, 2022
by Lisa Moravec:
The animals are already there, when Prometheus models human figures from wet clay.
The warrior goddess of rational knowledge and wisdom, Athena, breathes life into
his motionless, slowing drying lumps of earthy brown loam.
We, the humans, have to work,
because the long-sighted god wants us to create too.
We learn how to work with numbers, to count, how to engage with animals
and produce aesthetically pleasing objects.
All that there is, either morally human, boundlessly divine, or sensuously animal.
A vulnerable state.
Of an animal kind.
A visceral landscape within the earth, until Prometheus fans our human flames.
From the Mount Olympus, the heavenly home of the Gods, he brings the fire down to earth,
That which he thinks is required for the striving of humanity against animality.
Civilisation, a Human Olympus.
Once ignited from the outside, we, the naïve humans start to create a cultural system,
and attribute much overrated values to its objects and events.
We establish virtues, socially endorsed and collectively performed behaviour,
Making up morals, turning them into laws. There is no place, anymore for the animals.
We Bury Ourselves.
On Gaia, mother earth, humans do not live with animals anymore. To us, they have become useable spirted things, e-motional live stock. We become human animals ourselves. Whilst trying to preserve our own, visceral nativities, our first experiences of interacting in the universe, with the earth, we are paradoxically supressing our own animals, our natures and desires, thinking us masters over the earth, of all that moves.
There is no turning back.
[Zeus denied us being touched by flames.]
The human-divine rivalry begins to rule life—
Human wisdom and rationality take over the earth.
And Prometheus has to pay for it, too.
Chained to a chunk of stone, he suffers forever.
And we burn.
We fan, our flames.
Text: Lisa Moravec,2019