In 1966, the year he exhibited his "Melt Pieces" group for the first time at the legendary Bianchini Gallery in New York, he noted the following in his sketchbook: “Butter in the sun. What could be more fatal?” In essence, these words embody one of Kuehn’s guiding principles: processuality. In his early work, Kuehn rebelled against the authority of the strict, rigid form of dominant Minimalism. Like ice cubes or butter, the ideal cuboids seem to be melting. Physical processes, often combined with the influence of outside forces, transform intact geometric forms, with Kuehn experimenting with a wide range of different materials (tar, fibreglass, latex, metal, wood) and an incredible breadth of creative possibilities. The basic form remaining untouched, deformations and changes become visible, giving rise to a narrative, metaphorical element. It is the tension between opposites, strength and weakness, rigidity and flexibility, hardness and softness, solidity and fluidity, that pervade the oeuvre and raise one of the core issues of human existence: the question of limitation and freedom. In 2000, Gary Kuehn made a note that his work lies “somewhere between sex and geometry.”
The exhibition, created in close cooperation with the artist, gives visitors an insight into his wide-ranging oeuvre as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman from five decades, with an emphasis on the 1960s. On show are more than 120 works, including paintings and sculptures from the groups "Black Paintings", "Gesture Projects", "Berlin Series", "Branch Pieces", "Melt Pieces", "Pedestal Pieces", "Twist Pieces" and a wide range of works on paper, from experimental drawings such as "Drill" or "Stencil Drawings" to drawings of his sculptures. A central theme of the show is the intimate link between painting and sculpture in Kuehn’s work. For example, his high-contrast Black Paintings bespeak the sculptor’s hand both in terms of the application of colour and their focus on the edge of the painting, whereas his sculptures are pervaded by painterly and processual ideas.
Snoeck Verlag are releasing a publication with essays by Cindy Hinant, Christiane Meyer-Stoll, Julian Rose and George Segal, among others, interviews and writings by the artist, and a richly illustrated exhibition chronology.
The exhibition is a production of Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, curated by Christiane Meyer-Stoll.
Under the patronage of the US Embassy Bern.