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Friedrich Kunath : I Need Solitude, But I Also Need You

“I Need Solitude, But I Also Need You”, Friedrich Kunath’s first solo exhibition in Tel Aviv, takes the viewer on a journey between the artist’s inspirations and biography. The four exhibited artworks feature a semi-fantastical landscape, oscillating between reality and fiction, that seems to belong in many places and nowhere simultaneously. Twilight hues dominate these paintings, rendering a nostalgic and melancholic feel. A lonesomefigure appears in all – walking, wandering, contemplating. The figure’s solitude seems both intentional and undesired, perhaps referring to the dissonance expressed in the exhibition’s title.

The artist’s biographical journey is implied in the works, as the German-born, LA-based artist juxtaposes German romanticism and references to the Sublime with pop culture characters. This unusual combination results in playful yet contemplative paintings thatleave the viewer overwhelmed with an array of contrasting emotions. A closer look at the artworks reveals Kunath’s unique use of his medium, as he transforms the two-dimensional painting into a three-dimensional work through poetic lyrics scratched into the wet paint.

While the first room of the exhibition displays three medium-sized works, the second room includes one work only – “Looking Back, I Should’ve Been Home More” – a six-meter-long triptych exhibited in Tel Aviv for the first time. The scale of this piece invites the viewer for a closer inspection and introspection along the convoluted lines, paths, and details embedded in it, encouraging a visual “stroll” in the landscape that evolves before our eyes.

Photos: Elad Sarig.

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Guy Yanai: Threadsun

Nassima Landau Foundation is pleased to announce Guy Yanai’s solo show Threadsun. The show will be held side by side with an adjoining solo show by Los Angeles based German born Friedrich Kunath.

Threadsun is Guy Yanai’s first solo show in Tel Aviv in a decade. The title Threadsun comes from a poem and book by the Czernowitz born poet Paul Celan. The poem and book ( his last book published during his lifetime ) are actually titled Threadsuns, Yanai has taken the plural out of the invented work to insinuate one thread of sun coming down.

Paul Celan lost his parents and family in the Holocaust, Celan himself was in a labour camp between 1941-44. Despite all of this he insisted to continue writing in German, despite speaking 8(!) other languages. To write in the language of the murderers of ones parents is no small feat. It is with this in mind that we consider his invented words in German, Threadsuns being just one of the many. Paul Celan drowned himself in the Seine river in Paris in late April 1970.

It is this impossible paradox, this irreconcilable state that Yanai is so interested in.

How can one paint faced with the current atrocities, how can one write as profoundly and beautifully after living with such loss like?

The works in this show, all from 2024, except one work from 2020 that was reworked in 2024 span a wide range of subject matter. The mundane, even dull, and traditional subject matters of Western Painting. Landscapes, flowers, portraiture, interiors. Nothing here is attempting to be “groundbreaking” or “controversial”, which might in turn make the exhibition just that.

Yanai continues in his trajectory of the past few years of work. Recurring sources such as the films of Eric Rohmer (of which Gene Hackman said “ I watched a Rohmer film, it was like watching paint dry), the writing of Marcel Proust and Michel Houellebecq, and the oeuvre of artist Cy Twombly permeate the work and feeling of the painting.

These paintings remind us what we are fighting for and what we are living for. Small mundane moments of beauty and poetry. Even now among the horrors that have been surrounding us since October 7 and before.

Threadsuns

above the greyblack wastes

A tree-

high thought

grasps the light tone: there are

still songs to sing beyond

mankind.

Paul Celan Threadsun translated into English by Pierre Jori

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