“An excuse to record, a desire to retrace. An attempt to cross time and space.” —Mona Kuhn
In Kings Road, Mona Kuhn lyrically reconsiders the realms of time and space within the architectural elements of the Schindler House in Los Angeles. Kuhn’s impressionistic photos render this female presence physical, even as it seems to be dematerializing: fleeting images that question the very nature of photography as record.
The exhibition Mona Kuhn Kings Road, A Rudolph Schindler House, is a photography, multimedia and sound installation that extends over the three floors of the Kunsthaus Göttingen. Throughout the exhibition, the visitors take part in Kuhn’s visual research on the Schindler House, the personal residence of famed Austrian architect Rudolph M. Schindler in Los Angeles, California. Completed in 1922, the house was conceived as a design and social experiment that quickly became an avant-garde hub for artists and intellectuals, such as Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Starting on the ground floor, Kuhn shares her research in Schindler’s archive and reveals rarely-shown sketches, photographs, and correspondence that offer a glimpse into the architect’s personal life. Among them, Kuhn discovered a handwritten letter the architect wrote to a mysterious woman, in which he rejects her romantic aspirations. The letter is a pivotal entryway into Kuhn’s visual fiction. Additional archival findings reveal the American architectural scene of that time.
As in a theatrical play, the tension increases on the first floor with a presentation of large-scale photographic prints. By employing solarization techniques pioneered by Photo-Surrealists when the Schindler house was built, Kuhn brings to life an enigmatic figure, crossing time and space between the constructed world and its abstraction. The vestige of the once living within Schindler’s constructed world materializes into a series of photographs.
The grand finale awaits on the second floor with an immersive multidimensional video and sound installation in collaboration with sound artist and composer Boris Salchow, where the visitors become the residents of the house. Through layers of still and moving images, the viewer enters a realm where the two protagonists, architect and lover, find each other again.
In addition, Gerhard Steidl’s collaboration with Mona Kuhn, spanning more than 20 years, is manifested in a collection of published art books on display at the Cabinet gallery space.
Born in São Paulo in 1969 and today based in Los Angeles, Mona Kuhn is best known for her large-scale dreamlike photographs of the human form. Her work often references classical themes and is distinguished by the close relationships she develops with her subjects, resulting in images of remarkable naturalness and intimacy, of people naked yet comfortable in their own skin. Kuhn’s photographs are held in collections such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
I’m most comfortable representing the nude as minimal, timeless, almost monastic. But this time, I wanted to transcend the physical limitations of our presence, of our body, and cross the elements of time and space. – Mona Kuhn
Exhibition curated by Gerhard Steidl
Mona Kuhn : Kings Road, A Rudolph Schindler House
28 April – 4 June 2023
Düstere Str. 7
37073 Göttingen, Germany
The book KINGS ROAD by Mona Kuhn published by Steidl