Text by Axel Heil
artist, curator, author, producer of fluid editions
Le futur du passé
On Mimi Kunz’ observations
The picture of a seemingly deserted landscape somewhere on a nordic island, a stone wrapped in colored paper, water glowing in yellow transparency held in an aquarium made of plexiglass – regardless of every thematic or content-based reference an artwork is inherently always „form“. And form, in the sense of general interest, means nothing in particular, nothing pre-determined, nothing known and nothing which has been finally defined. Form is what remains maximally and objectively OPEN… For a moment it is neither the object, the core, the aim of an observation, nor the pleasure of observing. It is what takes place within the reflection itself. It is conscious happening. Naked, pure, and empty – a funky diamond.
It is when looking at the „thing“ that this strange – and extremely subjective – experiencing happens, especially when regarding the interplay of the impact of every single part in this moment, the context, to some extent at least, in its entirety. It is also the moment of pausing within the making, of stepping back and letting oneself fall into the comfy chair that is, literally and revealingly, found in so many artist studios. It is the moment afterwards, during which the moment „when it happened“ is being understood. The observing of one’s observation. The realization of our own distance is somewhat pleasurable – somehow, for a second. Until the guardians of doubt are, once again, back in front of us. Shaking them off is not an option. And why should we?
Those artists who manage to feel pleasure by looking at the „form“ in this happy moment have already had it all. The artwork that „worked“ is always already a moment of the past – snatched away in favor of the possibility of the present.
Looking at the artworks of Mimi Kunz they light up, these choreographies of the moment, she captures them for us. They curiously look like products of chance, especially when they’ve been„built“ carefully. Mimi Kunz presents us with the subjective judgement of our perception as the image which in a Haiku of Basho describes the feet of a crow in the rain. In what instant are the crow’s feet in the rain „form“? ‚Always and never’ surely isn’t the worst of answers (if one is bound to have one), and correlatively it becomes clear that „wrong“ cannot be any category when it comes to an artwork as „form“.
In her work Mimi Kunz plays as boundlessly free as can be. There are almost no „barriers“, everything is light, tries not only to be light in and by itself but to remain light. Weightlessness is practiced as an ideal. Kant has already dissected the „objectively undefined“ as a category for the term of form in his „Critique of Judgment“.
And even back then „taste“ and „I like it“ didn’t go beyond Königsberg. Zeitgeist or maybe taste is shown in the opinion about the „Necessity of the form“, which dissolves in beauty. But with regards to the form itself our musings float freely, are numinously indescribable. Objectivity through self-induced success? No, please.
Already in the beginning of the twentieth century – the era which interestingly has been stylized as „classical modernity“ in the meantime – artists who wanted to consider themselves avant-garde knew that „classical“ beauty as a scale for what was still to be done, could no longer and not at all be used as a function. A dilemma coruscates between „Beautiful is what, without a concept, is liked universally“ and „The Higher Powers Command: Paint the Upper Right Corner Black!“. This hardly helps in the evaluation of what is known as „contemporary art“ today. Today most (?), or all (?), criteria have long moved outwith art – to the sponsoring of a textile company, the investment record of an arts council, the entrepôts of museums. In the studio, „between the lines“ or „on the road“ this doesn’t signify a contradiction. What interests us today regarding an artwork, what determines discourses, and elevated mainstream art history to a paradigm, concerns the character and worth of individually present, and only momentarily identifiable, hardly „objectively“ visible, prevailing circumstances. For someone who doesn’t know by which idea the presented objects have been driven forth, can see what really is there to see but not necessarily what could be meant by it.
This is where it could get most interesting, where it really still is most interesting. Artworks today appear as onerously determined objects, particularly in the big spectacles of biennales. If I don’t know what is meant by it, what could „really“ be meant, White could, in a complicated setting, not only mean Black but actually be Black. In the Swiss alps tourisms offices are alarmed because the snow which privileged snowboarders from all over the world enjoy, is no longer snow-white but pink in appearance, having been „contaminated“ by Sahara sand. „Doesn’t matter,“ say some, „It goes with the purple cow.“ Others warn that „the glaciers continue to melt“, and others again find „that’s beside the point, I like the taste of the water.“
The more intense, the more surprising an artwork appears to be, the longer „art“ can delight us in aesthetic contemplation, and remain a stimulus in itself, the bigger the pleasure of looking, the „better“ is the art. This „better“ remains the unanswered question: For what is the specifically artistic and essential element in an artwork? Mimi Kunz incessantly forms such questions in a steady ripple, in diffusion,…the principle of hope.
Axel Heil, 2018