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.
In looking at the “thing”, that strange – extremely subjective – feeling arises, especially if one considers the interplay of all the forces acting at that moment, “the context”, even halfway completely. It is also the moment in which one pauses while “making”, takes a step back, lets oneself fall into the comfortable armchair that so literally and treacherously stands in many studios. It is the moment afterwards, in which one reconstructs the moment in which “it happened”. The observation of one’s own observation. This perception of one’s own distance makes us smile, creates satisfaction – somehow for seconds. Until they stand clearly in front of you again, the guardians of doubt. There is no question of shaking them off. Why should we? Whoever, as an artist, succeeds in feeling pleasure in that happy moment in view of the “form” has already had it all. The “successful” work of art, it has always been a moment of the past – snatched away for a possible present.
When we look at Mimi Kunz’s works of art, they light up, they are captured for us,, those choreographies of the moment that seem strangely random, especially when they are “built” precisely. She presents the subjective assessment of her own reception work to us as the image in the haiku of Bashō that describes the trace of crow’s feet in the rain. At what moment are the crow’s feet in the rain “form”? Always and never, is certainly not the worst answer (if you need one), and incidentally it becomes clear that “wrong” cannot be any category of a work of art as “form”.
In her works, Mimi Kunz plays as boundlessly free as possible. There are few “barriers”, everything is light, tries not only to be light but above all to remain light. Weightlessness as an ideal. Kant had long since dissected the “objectively indefinite” as a category for the concept of form in his “Critique of Judgment”. Even then, people could not get out of Königsberg with “taste” or “like”. Zeitgeist or even taste are shown in the judgement about the “purpose of form”, which dissolves into beauty. But with regards to form itself our re ections hover in the air – numinously indescribable. Objectivity through self-imposed 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