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Between Modernism and Surrealism by Mona Kuhn

Posted on March 15, 2024 - By Edwynn Houk Gallery
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Between Modernism and Surrealism by Mona Kuhn
Between Modernism and Surrealism by Mona Kuhn

Edwynn Houk Gallery April 4 - May 11, 2024


We are delighted to announce the new exhibition Between Modernism and Surrealism by Mona Kuhn at Edwynn Houk Gallery from 4 April to 11 May 2024, to coincide with AIPAD.

The exhibition of seven solarized photographs by Mona Kuhn, from her series Kings Road, are in dialogue with artworks by masters exploring surreal representation, including Man Ray,Láslzó Moholy-Nagy, Dora Maar, Erwin Blumenfeld, and Bill Brandt.

The opening reception on Saturday, April 6 from 3-5pm, includes a walk-through of the exhibition with the artist and with Darius Himes, International Head of Photographs at Christie’s.

This follows the tour of Mona Kuhn's Kings Road exhibition in the USA and Europe. Starting in 2022 at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at the University of California, USA, followed by the Kunsthaus-Göttingen in Germany, curated by Gerhard Steidl, and then at Galerie XII in Paris in 2023.

These exhibitions, with their multimedia and sound installation, pushed the boundaries of how photography and architecture are presented in museums and galleries.

Now the work is to be presented in dialogue with some of the master image-makers of the 20th Century.


Mona Kuhn

SILHOUETTE from Kings Road series © Mona Kuhn



Mona Kuhn

EMBLEM from Kings Road series © Mona Kuhn


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 exhibition 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.


Erwin Blumenfeld

Untitled Nude, undated © Erwin Blumenfeld / Courtesy of Edywnn Houk Gallery



Man Ray

Meret Oppenheim, 1933 © Man Ray / Courtesy of Edywnn Houk Gallery


Mona Kuhn: Between Modernism and Surrealism 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


Mona Kuhn

INTERLEAVING from Kings Road series © Mona Kuhn



Mona Kuhn

SPECTRAL from Kings Road series © Mona Kuhn


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