1275 Minnesota St / EUQINOMprojects

Opening reception: Saturday May 6th | 6-8pm
Artist walk-through: Saturday June 3rd | 6-8pm

EUQINOMprojects is pleased to present Mona Kuhn’s The First Chapter at Minnesota Street Project. This is her second exhibition with EUQINOMprojects. These works are the first part of an ongoing series, called POEMS, she began two years ago. Partially inspired by the earthly delights of Hieronymus Bosch’s gardens and some of the frescos on the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel, Kuhn states, “I intuitively craved for nude figures engaged in innocent and unguarded joys. Often present in 14th Century artworks, today this naturalness and languid peace seems unobtainable, being left to the magic and fantasy of previous heavenly forms.”

LA-based artist Mona Kuhn is acclaimed for her intimate, contemporary depictions of the nude. Through intimacy with her subjects, knowledge of traditional iconography, and technical mastery, Kuhn portrays the complexities of human nature, both tempting and provoking the viewer's imagination. Her approach to photography is unusual in that she usually develops close relationships with her subjects, resulting in images of remarkable naturalness and intimacy, and creating the effect of people naked, but comfortable in their own skin.

The scenes in The First Chapter were photographed in and around Les Landes de Gascogne, a pine forest region by the coast of France, and feature several subjects, all of whom knew each other in some capacity; sometimes mutual friends, sometimes lovers. Here, Kuhn takes an inverse position to a painter composing his afresco above the scaffolding. Instead, she stands on a ladder with her camera pointed down at her subjects, eliminating the horizon line in an attempt to mirror heaven and earth. Like Bosch’s paintings, Kuhn’s photographs have a surreal edge, due in part to their flattened perspective. Pine needles, cones, dappled light and subtle color tonalities add a layer of nostalgia to the visual vocabulary. Most subjects have their eyes closed, suggesting a state of intimacy and daydreaming. The resulting images resemble figure drawings suspended in space and time like private reveries.

Mona Kuhn was born in 1969 in São Paulo, Brazil and is of German descent. She received her BA from The Ohio State University and went on to study fine art at the San Francisco Art Institute. She is currently an independent scholar at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Kuhn’s work has been exhibited at Le Bal and Louvre Museum, Paris France; Royal Academy of Arts in London; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria and Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Australia. Her work is in private and public collections worldwide, including The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California; Perez Art Museum, Miami, Florida; George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; Museum of Fine Arts,Houston, Texas; Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan and di Rosa Foundation, Napa, California. Steidl has published five monographs of Kuhn’s work to date, her newest monograph, She Disappeared into Complete Silence, with text by Salvador Nadales, Curator at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. It will be published by Steidl, and released in the Fall 2017. Mona Kuhn lives and works in Los Angeles.