04
Jul
09

Exhibition: ‘Johannes Kuhnen: a survey of innovation’ at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 5th June – 18th July 2009

 

Johannes Kuhnen. 'Rings' 1971

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Rings
1971

 

Johannes Kuhnen. 'Ring' 1973

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Ring
1972
Stainless steel, synthetic ruby disc

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Brooch and ring'

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)

Brooch
2003
Anodised aluminium, monel

Ring
1972
Stainless steel, synthetic ruby disc

 

 

This is a superlative exhibition, one of the highlights of the year so far in Melbourne.

The exhibition presents work from the early 1970s to contemporary work and evidences the breadth of vision of this master craftsman and artist, the arc of his investigation showing a consistency of feeling for the energy and form of his materials over many decades. Technically the work is superb; conceptually the work transcends the boundaries of jewellery and becomes something else altogether: it becomes magical.

Kuhnen’s use of colour in his favoured anodised aluminium material is exquisite, the perfection of his forms flawless. His fabulous Vessels reminding me of the ancient Neolithic standing stone circles at Stonehenge in their shape and use of vertical buttresses in different materials (such stainless steel and granite) that intersect the oval forms. His Boxes are like small ancient reliquaries, objects for holding ashes worked with a delicacy, simplicity and feeling for form and colour that is absolutely beautiful and consistent with the containment of energy within their structure.

I went with Marianne Cseh a jeweller friend of mine. We stood transfixed before this work, peering closely at it and gasping in appreciation of the beauty, technical proficiency and pure poetry of the pieces. This exhibition is highly recommended and not to be missed!

Now showing with the international SCHMUCK jewellery exhibition from Germany.

A book to accompany the exhibition is available from the RMIT Gallery.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to RMIT Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Johannes Kuhnen. Boxes 1980

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Boxes
1980

 

Johannes Kuhnen. 'Box and pendant' 1980

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Box and pendant
1980

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Tray' 1986

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Tray
1986
Anodised aluminium, titanium, stainless steel

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Centrepiece' 1987

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Centrepiece
1987

 

Johannes Kuhnen. 'Centrepiece' 1991

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Centrepiece
1991
Anodised aluminium, silver, monel: fabricated

 

 

In his work as a jeweller, object maker and photographer, Johannes Kuhnen is engaged with the interpretation and manipulation of a precise visual language of forms. The dramatic curvilinear shape of this centrepiece has been designed to emphasise the particular visual qualities of its materials and to fulfil its role as a low, but commanding central presence on a table. The vivid, iridescent colour of its anodised aluminium rim is designed to interact with differing light conditions, while the technical and precious qualities of its monel and silver elements play against each other. This orchestration of metals is underpinned with an unseen but precise and ingenious inner structure, giving this object weight and functional strength.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra [Online] Cited 10/03/2019

 

Johannes Kuhnen has made a pioneering contribution to Australian design and gold and silver smithing through his commitment as a generous educator and innovative practitioner. This exhibition will create linkages between his earlier works, some of which was made in Germany prior to migrating to Australia and new work specifically produced for this exhibition and this will be done both with objects and through a catalogue/monograph to be launched at the opening venue. The exhibition will borrow from Australian public and private collections to facilitate the demonstration of connecting design elements in the work from both significant streams in Kuhnen’s work in jewellery and hollowware.

Text from the RMIT Gallery website [Online] Cited 02/07/2009 no longer available online

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Vessel' 2007

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Vessel' 2007

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Vessel
2007
Anodised aluminium, titanium, stainless steel
11.2 h x 84.5 w x 21.0 d cm
Weight 14 kg

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Vessel' 2008

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Vessel
2008
Anodised aluminium, titanium, stainless steel

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Vessel' 2009

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Vessel' 2009

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Vessel
2009
Anodised aluminium, titanium, stainless steel

 

Johannes Kuhnen. 'Armring' 1981

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Armring
1981
Anodised aluminium
9.8 h x 10.4 w cm

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952) 'Armring' 1990

 

Johannes Kuhnen (Australian, born Germany 1952)
Armring
1990
Armring, anodised aluminium, gold 750, granite

 

 

RMIT Gallery
344 Swanston St
, Melbourne
Phone: +61 3 9925 1717

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday, 12 pm – 5 pm
Closed public holidays and Sundays.

RMIT Gallery website

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4 Responses to “Exhibition: ‘Johannes Kuhnen: a survey of innovation’ at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne”


  1. August 8, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    i would love to see the johannes kuhnen survey of innovation

  2. 2 bunyanth
    July 6, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Thankyou Karen for the addition to your posting.

    I have included a link to it from this posting 🙂

    Marcus


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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