If I could create a space to describe how surreally crazy my life has been this past year, (Title: The Travails of a Stubborn Dreamer Immigrant who thinks Europe still has something to offer while all of her friends are now going back to Asia), I´d probably emulate the exhibit of Friedrich Kunath at the White Cube. Just like Friedrich, I´ll make the room a David Lynch meets Buster Keaton dreamscape: paint the walls black, have incense burning and yeah, I will also put a human-sized banana with a trumpet to welcome my visitors. Because just like my laughable absurd sense of optimism and pessimism about life in Europe, my room is a dreamland where tragedy and comedy meets.
As Kunath´s UK solo show, I was fortunate to catch it before it ended last June 4. The exhibit was a total brand experience in a surreal tragimelancomic utopia: The Most Beautiful World in the World according to Kunath.
I wanted to doze off in one of the sofas and smoke a Cuban cigar while looking at those vibrant watercoloured artworks that depict a male figure in the absurdities of over-loneliness, this word scrawled in text in I heard I was in Town. I like the title of the other work: Let those Days I Don´t Care Begins - because it would be really great if there could be some moments when we can just stop giving a damn about everything and about nothing. Kunath has a penchant for branding his artworks with poweful titles – for example Younger Men Grow Older was a powerful punch eerily accompanied by a visual black and white portrait of melancholic men pondering the inevitably of aging.
A German-born American artist, Friedrich Kunath´s exhibit explore themes of loneliness and dream possibilities in this exhibit. In variety of mediums encompassing sculpture, painting and installation, the dark room is unbearably melancomic as it brings a twisted sense of nostalagia of childhood.
Playthings become absurd mementos such as the banana sculpture with its footprints on the carpet; the man with a chair on its head and bird on its nose holding balloons; and a reclining male figure watching a film while a toy train passes thru its body. The sounds of chirping birds mixed with the smell of incense is Kunath´s nostalgia for that space-moment of what has been. The central piece of the exhibit was in Almost Summer, a eye-catching piece because of its vibrant watercolours which is offset by the sad figure of a man holding a luggage. It is what I can call a picture of the summer of discontent.
The Most Beautiful World in the World only exists in the mind. It is a space that acknowledges the purity of a distant past and honours (albeit with irony), the ambiguous outcome of the present where the most tragic of all tragedies is to be lonely. I am still not yet lonely in Europe (thank God!) but my past life in the Philippines had been brighter. I feel exactly like Kunath´s One day We will Follow the Birds, where a voice utters, “I didn’t expect to remain the same but I didn’t know what to expect.” But hey, I am still dreaming by the way. One of These Days will End. Bow.