By Mona Kuhn
Essay by Wayne V. Anderson
Text by Shelley Rice
Published by Steidl, September 2009
After 20 years, Mona Kuhn returned to her native country, to reinterpret her past. Photographed entirely in Brazil, mostly in the rainforest and city surroundings, Native employs the green, gold and pink underlying palette of the country. In a contrast to her previous series, Native employs nature as a mirror of her encounters with people and human emotions.
“This work began as a personal journey. Metaphorically, I was thinking of a bird that flies back into the forest, searching for its childhood nest. The images here are a creation of my abstracted wishes and dreams. As I was searching, instead of home, I found an empty past, just traces of it. Yet, my journey was filled with new friendships, and discoveries made along the way.” — Mona Kuhn
96 pages, 65 colour plates, 29 cm x 31 cm
Clothbound hardcover, limited is slipcased in linen, in an edition of 100
and includes a 10×10″ C print of cover image, signed and numbered by artist
Essay by Gordon Baldwin
Story by Frederic Tuten
Published by Steidl, 2007
Critics have observed that Mona Kuhn’s subjects seem “nude but not naked”. Completely relaxed before the camera, they give the impression that nothing could clothe them better than their own skin.” Kuhn, who photographs in the naturist or nudist community, often in domestic interiors, weaves together gestures from the traditional iconography of nude studies with the comfortable body language of her subjects, creating a visual patois at once classical and contemporary. And beneath the mellow surfaces of her photographs lies an explosive energy: the artist’s controlled play with the power of sensuality. Tension and uneasiness coexist with all that sunlight and soft flesh. The subjects and their gestures are suggestive but ultimately ambiguous. Tenuously held planes of focus provoke the imagination. Kuhn works very close to her subjects, often with a depth of field of only a few inches. Real world and image world seem to blend together as her figures unite the reality of human complexity with the blissful essence of nature. With only sparse reference to physical surroundings, they appear to float in an idyllic picture space, part of a dreamlike narrative just beyond the viewer’s comprehension. These exceptional photographs exist in a space created by the artist and subject alone–the viewer is given a single fascinating glimpse, suspended in time, and then an enduring sense of the resilience and vulnerability of the human body.
88 pages, 54 color plates
Clothbound hardcover, collector’s slipcased edition of 100
With original signed and numbered 10 x 10 Fuji Crystal Archive print
Printed by the artist, choice of front or back cover image
Price: $1,500.00 – subject to change as edition sells out
Published by Steidl, 2004
“Seeking the innermost self in her photographs, Kuhn achieves a mood of intimacy by photographing up close models she knows well. Her photographs are a product of lasting relationships built on mutual affection. In a sense, the images are based on the memory of shared experiences.” – Julie Nelson
The people in Mona Kuhn’s photographs are nude but not naked. Completely relaxed before the camera, they give the impression that nothing could clothe them better than their own skin. With a unique style, Kuhn’s intimate photographs of both young and old are sensual compositions of skin and wrinkles, light and shadow, gestures and gazes. She creates taughtly composed images which balance sharply rendered portraits against blurred backgrounds to lure the eye and provoke the imagination.