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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-02-29
  • Publisher: Distributed Art Pub Inc
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Rebellious, provocative, and ever polarizing, Kienholz's Å“uvre has always caused a stir from the mid-1950s with his first works and, later from 1972, with the collaborative projects with his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz. This is scarcely astonishing, since religion, war, death, and the more inscrutable sides of society and its social conflicts have always been at the centre of their works.With an angry realism situated between figuration and the surreal, the large environments as well as smaller assemblages are especially impressive. The moral tableaux assembled and adapted from found materials, flea market purchases, and the detritus of civilization positively overpower viewers.Theatrical, opulent, baroque, and sensuous, they are very much of the people (without the abysses of the connotations of the German word Volk); they have something to say. The point is to take a position, to adopt a stance and to maintain it with force and passion.Addressing subjects such as the sexual exploitation of women in prostitution, the role of the media, and ethnic conflicts, they point to fractures in Western societies that have yet to heal even today and thereby create an Å“uvre of all but uninterrupted topicality. But this contemporaneity is not due solely to their themes, today we view Kienholz primarily as a precursor of central trends in contemporary art.Published in conjunction with the exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 21 October 2011 29 January 2012 and Museum Tinguely, Basel, 22 February 13 May 2012.English and German text.

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