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Edwynn Houk Gallery : Mona Kuhn : Between Modernism and Surrealism


Edwynn Houk Gallery presents Mona Kuhn: Between Modernism and Surrealism, an exhibition of 7 solarized photographs by Mona Kuhn from her series Kings Road in dialogue with artworks by masters exploring surreal representation, including Man Ray, Láslzó Moholy-Nagy, Dora Maar, Erwin Blumenfeld, and Bill Brandt.

Mona Kuhn’s portraits visualize an uncanny love story. Kuhn’s solarized photographs in this exhibition follow a young woman throughout the groundbreaking mid-century modernist home designed by architect Rudolph Schindler in West Hollywood. In this mysterious narrative, Kuhn explores the core themes of Surrealism — dreams, desire, creation, and a challenge to conventional modes — through this autonomous woman. An active subject, she seeks formal and spiritual union with the King’s Road House, an avant-garde center of its day and a symbol of community and creativity. Kuhn’s solarization pushes these scenes further into the otherworldly, dissolving the aesthetic distinction between the human body, and its presence within the building. Rendered in layers of oxidized silver, body parts and architectural elements mirror and dissolve into each other, and the woman’s silver shadow cast on the building creates a literal space of integration.

The breakthrough of Surreal explorations in photography are widely traced to Man Ray’s experimentations, which radically expanded the horizons of photography beyond straight representation. This show presents two of the artist’s solarized gelatin silver prints, a technique that he discovered with Lee Miller in 1931: a nude portrait of Meret Oppenheim posing in front of Salvador Dalí’s painting, printed on a carte-postale, as well as a portrait. Both the figure of the mysterious woman and architecture were key motifs used by Surrealists and artists influenced by the movement, and photographs by László Moholy-Nagy, Dora Maar, Erwin Blumenfeld, and Bill Brandt open a historical dialogue with Kuhn’s practice.


Mona Kuhn (b. 1969, São Paulo) has used photography for more than 20 years to re-examine figurative discourse. “Mona Kuhn: Between Modernists and Surrealists” is her third exhibition with Edwynn Houk Gallery. Her work is in private and public collections worldwide, including The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; George Eastman House Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Musée de l’Elysée, Switzerland; Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi, Belgium; Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Japan; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Louvre Museum, Paris; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida; and the Buhl Foundation, New York. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles.


Mona Kuhn : Between Modernism and Surrealism
from April 4 – May 11, 2024
Opening reception with the artist on Saturday, April 6 from 3-5pm.
Edwynn Houk Gallery
745 5th Ave 4th floor
New York, NY 10151

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