IN REVIEW: Emma Kunz - Visionary Drawings: An exhibition conceived with Christodoulos Panayiotou
With Emma Kunz’s aptly named ‘Visionary Drawings’ there is the feeling you could put your arm, or if feeling brave, your whole head inside the geometrical portals that glow across the Serpentine’s new exhibition. To do so comes with the promise you’ll feel better. This is art the nourisher, art the healer.
There was no separation between spirituality and art with Kunz’ work – they were the same thing but equally potent enough for it be worthwhile pointing out they were integrated wholly. Standing in The Serpentine’s space, it felt religious – it reminded me of visiting Matisse’s chapel and of the photos I’d seen of Malevich’s early Suprematist exhibitions in that their particular spirituality were also, seemingly, rooted in the specifics of an individual life. In this respect, it is impossible for me to separate the work from Kunz, the individual.
The room is beautifully balanced, serenely calm and feels as though the rooms were designed with the exhibition in mind, all the way to the cylindrical passage leading to a circular window of blue sky. It is a testament to The Serpentine’s curators as this circle had been full of live flies only a month ago. Now it is a contemplative and open space, much like Chagall’s purpose-built museum for his biblical works in Nice. Had you been planning to murder somebody the day you visited Kunz’ exhibition, you might have reconsidered – or at least put it off.
The reference to old masters is a relevant point as this is only Emma Kunz’ first solo exhibition in the UK and she was only exhibited posthumously. In this respect, she falls into the category of an ‘outsider artist’. The Serpentine does an excellent job of showing the true beauty that is self-evident in her work whilst asking the question ‘why?’. AG
For more details about the exhibition visit The Serpentine’s website.