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Mona Kuhn turns the past ethereal

Mona Kuhn uses solarisation to give her subject an ethereal, otherworldly presence in her latest surreal work

Mona Kuhn photograph

‘An excuse to record, a desire to retrace. An attempt to cross time and space.’

Photographer Mona Kuhn opens her new book Kings Road with this elegant quatrain. It gracefully encapsulates the premise of her latest work.

When Kuhn first visited 835 Kings Road in West Hollywood, she felt an instant regression to a past that she had not lived but had often imagined.

Built by Austrian architect Rudolph Schindler in 1922, this iconic house was both a social and design experiment and an avant-garde hub for intellectuals and artists in the 1920s and 1930s.

The enigmatic subject of Kuhn’s solarised pictures is a fictional figure inspired by a letter from Schindler to a mysterious woman. Kuhn’s impressionistic photos render this female presence physical, even as it seems to be dematerialising.

The results are both beautiful and bewildering. 

Mona Kuhn
Mona Kuhn

'Kings Road' by Mona Kuhn is published by Steidl – it accompanies the exhibition '835 Kings Road' at the Art Design & Architecture Museum in Santa Barbara, CA running until 1 May 2022. For more information, see steidl.de

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