Artists I really care for tend to fall into two distinct categories.
The first is the extensive or Picasso category – refusing to be
bound by stylistic limitations or boxes they constantly
reinvent themselves, often seeming like ten artists in one skin.
The other might be called the Giacometti or Morandi model, where
the best part of a lifetime is devoted to an intensive, deep,
exploration of a limited set of themes and content.
They have in common more than would at first appear to be the case.
They are both led by a kind of shamanistic passion, a surrender to
the unconscious, to whim, to a playfulness which can be either infantile
or deadly serious, and they reject the most common practice which is the
dull conformity of making work which attempts to guess the market,
or follow fashion or whatever.
If Sondheim is the net exemplar of the first way then Donna Kuhn
must typify the second.
Small miracles of freshness & originality mined and chiselled from
a tiny pallette! Wit and sadness both! Wonder! Delight!
Two pieces from Donna Kuhn in 2008.
I wrote then:
We’ve shown a number of pieces by Donna Kuhn here previously.
I wondered to myself a couple of times, I must admit, whether the fact of
having developed such an intensely freighted and personal syntax and vocabulary might
not at some point become a block to further development, whether there was a limit to
the elaboration (and not of course simply the formal elaboration but of how much
in the way of new approaches to her subject matter this process could be made to yield) of this
admittedly extraordinarily beautiful and singular set of moves.
Well no sign of it yet – instead there is this remarkable process of intensification,
of continual, ever finer and more nuanced scrutiny, distillation and development.
It’s like watching an never ending succession of rabbits being pulled out of
hats and it’s quite, quite beautiful and moving.
All of it something of a masterclass, but the use of sound especially colors me
green with envy – wonderful!
“something to stare at
This is a few years old, but hasn’t been put up; the dancer is Maud
Liardon, either Foofwa or I held the camera and made the video and
effects reminiscent of G. Moreau come to life, the church is in the
Swiss Alps, Rilke was buried behind it, murals of tormented hell,
angelic world of Elegies, we were transported”
…Alan Sondheim is one of the artists whose work you can see if
you can get to Nottingham, UK this Thursday – Sunday, 11th-14th Nov, 12-5 pm, in the first offline
appearance by DVblog, where a 45 minute program of work first posted here
will be continuously screened at The Wasp Room, part of Tether Studios.
17a Huntingdon Street
Kerry Baldry, Steven Ball, Robert Croma, Rupert Howe, JimPunk, Donna Kuhn, Morrisa Maltz, Millie Niss, Giles Perkins, Sam Renseiw, Alan Sondheim, Nathaniel Stern, Liz Sterry, Eddie Whelan
Also – if you’re reading this & are interested in screening this program -we have both PAL and NTSC
DVDs available. Just mail us!
I love Donna Kuhn’s work.
I’ve rhapsodised about it here before, so I’ll just note, first,
that she continues to develop in the most thoughtful & interesting of ways
& second that this video is very funny, poetic
& scarier than most horror movies.
( Donna: ‘people don’t believe that these are completely unembellished
craigslist personals ads’)
To do all three – a coup!
More soon please Donna!
Another great piece from Morrisa Maltz, whom we first showed here last week.
This puts me in mind, stylistically, of another DVblog favourite, Donna Kuhn.
I mean that entirely positively – the content & tone are clearly different but there’s
something of the same dynamism and confidence in working with very diverse materials
in both artists.
We’ve observed before how wonderfully productive
Donna Kuhn makes her relatively restricted lexicon
of images ( OK Greek Professors! -I know there’s a problem with that expression
but it does, and I don’t know what the image equivalent of lexicon is.)
Side by side with this she cautiously introduces new elements, which I look
forward to seeing her work over in her inimitable way during the course of her next few movies.
Latest is the landscape of New Mexico.
That makes me want to visit; the video as a whole makes me want to squeal with
Donna Kuhn has joined the little pantheon (Sondheim’s another, as is Sam Renseiw)
of people whose work I’m just going
to post regularly because they are great.
No apology, no argument.
If you can’t see it, the problem is yours.
Great. Great. Great.
We’ve shown Donna Kuhn’s work couple of times before.
Look at the trajectory.
It’s always been impressive but there’s a new note here:
a confidence & ambition that is really striking.
It’s a cliche but cliches are nonetheless sometimes true
-here’s someone who has found a very personal
voice & learned how sing with it in a sophisticated
& affecting way.
These two videos by Donna Kuhn were made in circumstances of terrible
personal loss: the death of her son & then later that of a close friend.
Astonishing then, their delicacy & richness & the sheer dexterity of
handling & making, particularly in I don’t fix a word which
is a jewel, a small masterpiece.
We’ve featured (are featuring… will feature? – time is
all wrong here since the crash) Donna Kuhn’s
work before/now/later. It’s great.
Heartfelt & rich & fearless & distinctive.