Today’s art is an endless territory with bumps and holes; hence the limitlessness of self-expression arguably finds its best in conceptual art. My last visit to Andrea Rosen Gallery once again proved the deliriousness of the minds of our contemporaries. Upon walking into the current Friedrich Kunath exhibition titled The Temptation to Exist (May Contain Nuts), the giddy tone of the blue carpets covering the floors invaded my five senses–starting with my sight. Kunath’s witty and allusive works, on the other hand, oozed to my sense of humor with their reckless visuals and uncompromising undertones.
Accompanying Kunath’s works are wall to wall carpets that were being vacuumed by a cleaning lady during my stay at the gallery. Poking me to think further than a regular gallery visit, this peculiar coincidence raised a few questions on the absurdity of conceptual art besides its limitlessness. This ‘no-rule’ rule seems to bear situations or conditions that pave the path to readings even beyond art criticism moving to a wider argument on modern life and its edgy occasions.
Sipping odd-tasting cocktails in Starbucks cups served stuck in fake Crocs sandals at an art event this past weekend and later seeing a cleaning lady vacuuming exhibition material among rugged cat towers (making me wonder for a second whether it was a performance commissioned by the artist) have seeded my thoughts on the uncanniness and the relativity of conceptual art practices while the thin line between the reason and insanity or between the artificial and the real is blurred.
Doubtlessly what has made a devoted gallery-goer like me think that it might have been a performance was my previous experiences on the limitlessness of contemporary art. Knowing Kunath’s naughty and allegorical technique on the other hand has triggered me to this assumption. Granted, watching the cleaning act as a performance on a pre-announced date would be perfectly ordinary in the frame of today’s art.
Carpeted cat towers elaborated with bitten watermelons or bananas, as well as rainbow-colored ensembles on canvas in which daisies, frogs or pears are hidden, grace the carpet-covered gallery as exuberance and allegory blatantly come together.
Enlarged notebook pages reminiscing long-gone childhood with random sketches maneuvering around the kitsch and the sensual appear with some hopelessly romantic sentences such as Fuck It I Love You or I Dreamt It Was A Dream That You Were Gone.
The works titled such as I Needed That or A Brief History of Love moreover accord with the artist’s intense use of autumn colors as he grasps a dream-like figurativeness. “Somewhere in these oppositions lies the aesthetic possibility of slipping on a banana peel” says Friedrich Kunath on the press release, and while the freshly vacuumed carpeted floors diminish this risk, the jovial yet engrossing works of the artist shake us up a little bit if not slip and fall.