Dreamer, jester, melancholic and optimist, Friedrich Kunath is an enigmatic presence in the work he creates. This September, Modern Art Oxford presents his first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery in which four new paintings and a number of new sculptures will be shown alongside recent works, including the film You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Crazy (2012).
With an exhibition title that references Raymond Moody, American psychologist and best-selling author of Life after Life (1975), and British 1960s rock band The Moody Blues, Kunath draws on myriad inspirations and sources in a playful discourse between melancholy and joy, which asserts the triumph of life over death, something Kunath often refers to as “sad optimism”.
His paintings contain layered elements — Renaissance woodcuts, landscape engravings, still lifes, slapstick cartoons, lyrical words and phrases, anthropomorphized animals, and music iconography from the 1960s and 70s — that undulate between humour and pathos.
Friedrich Kunath in conversation with cultural critic Michael Bracewell Saturday, September at 1pm