snakeappletree studio journal
K is for Kienholz
I was in Berlin in '97-'98 and I saw the Kienholz exhibition, which was mind-boggling.
The atmosphere and volume of the work of the artists, a married couple, permeates and is distinct yet very difficult to describe.
It forces us face to face with 'the seedy' in such a way that we must analyze ourselves with reference to it and surprisingly to discover that we are at once both clean and therefore allowed to experience the levels of reality in which the art invokes.
A detachment from disgust because of curiosity into the strange sculptures spewing with clever symbolist meaning, and that the actual physical substance unifying the world created by the installations is chemical resin, therefore safe and hygienic, despite it depicting all at once plastic-based-rain, tears, and bodily fluids cast freely and with a wild abandon.
The art shocks us into wakefulness. It does this by showing us our world without inhibition. that otherwise blinds us to the truth of it. If I recall correctly it was here amidst a carefully planned chaos that I accepted the concept that life is a jungle.
The video below is of only one of their projects; it is a minor percentage of the sum total of the environment they created in a gallery dedicated entirely to their powerful vision. Sex is only one theme they relate to; through our own sense of empathy and identification they explore also trans-humanism, war, fairground, sociology, psychology, memory, childhood; voodooism is evident throughout all of their work.
They create these objects and installations, scenes often of very difficult and challenging subject matter, that speak very firmly for themselves and allow us to step back from the subject matter and its referential insights, to explore taboo's and discover places within ourselves that we would otherwise never allow nor be aware of. It is art that blatantly shows reality as it really would be seen, if we were only more aware of it. The non-judgement perception inhibited by ego is necessary to 'get' Kienholz. message, if there even is one. I found Kienholz art to be liberating; it found me to be accepting, expansive.
K is for: