Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Modern Art Oxford presents Friedrich Kunath: Raymond Moody’s Blues

Modern Art Oxford presents Friedrich Kunath Raymond Moody’s Blues on view 21 September–17 November 2013.

© StudioFK
© StudioFK
For his first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery Kunath presents an installation of new and recent painting, sculpture and video at Modern Art Oxford. The exhibition title references Raymond Moody, the American psychologist and medical doctor who in 1975 coined the term ‘near-death experience.’ Here, as in all his work, Kunath draws on myriad inspirations and sources in a playful balance of joy and melancholy, seeking to evoke a mood he refers to as ‘sad optimism.’

A tennis court is suggested in the Upper Gallery, with a net strung across the space, and line markings dividing the space into zones. A cast of characters in related pairs, including sea otters, ghosts and gnomes, sit alongside sculptural objects, such as oversized burnt matches, large brown loafers, and the polyhedron from Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I balanced on the nose of a seal.

The paintings that occupy the walls contain imagery sourced from landscape engravings, still lifes and slapstick cartoons, combined to create narrative associations that fluctuate between humour and pathos. The large mural-sized work Life After Life (2013), with its palm trees and blue sky, hints at the tennis court on which Kunath himself plays, but also acts as a ‘blank canvas,’ a site for graffiti, and a divide between one realm and the next.

The film You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Crazy (2012) has an ageing LA artist as the central protagonist. Stylish yet forlorn he sails, swims and plays tennis alone. The affluent trappings belie his evident malaise, and the pensive soundtrack, composed by the Calder Quartet in close collaboration with Kunath and Maxwell Sterling, emphasizes the sense of someone unraveling at the seams.

Friedrich Kunath was born in Chemnitz, Germany in 1974, and now lives and works in Los Angeles. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2012), Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2011), the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010), Kunstverein Hannover (2009), Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2009) and Aspen Art Museum (2008). Forthcoming exhibitions in 2014 include presentations at Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, and Kunsthalle Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven.

Modern Art Oxford
30 Pembroke Street
Oxford OX1 1BP
Free admission