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Artist of The Day | Susanne Kuhn

Susanne Kuhn



230 x 160 cm

Mixed media on canvas


Susanne Kühn is a German contemporary artist, whose brilliantly colored and detailed paintings blur the boundaries between nature and architecture, composing a towering landscape of cypress trees, pines, and willows in woods.

Kühn was born in 1969 in Leipzig, Germany. Having studied at the renowned Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig where she received classical training in painting and drawing, Kühn moved to the US shortly after her graduation. She completed postgraduate studies at the School of Visual Arts and Hunter College in New York followed by a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University. Her experience of living in America coupled with her academic background from Leipzig makes Kühn’s paintings unique and different from her colleagues from Germany. Kühn challenges the group known as the New Leipzig School by bringing her experience living and studying in America to the fore.

Kühn’s work offers painterly and formal connections between figures, landscape, and architecture through a vocabulary that is emblazed with light and informed by European, Northern American, Asian art and history. Her works clearly relate to certain elements of German Romanticism, such as the heavily symbolic visions of nature. However, what at first glance seem to be naturalistic depictions of mountains, forests, ravines, and eerie, moonlit landscapes, painted in the style of the old masters, are so adeptly combined with elements from other historical and cultural contexts – such as comics and fantasy, Japanese woodcuts, and East German graphic design, giving the paintings an entirely contemporary feel. Embedded in the art-historical tradition of landscape drawing the picture plane is a platform for a formal experimentation with space, color, structure, reality and abstraction rather than content or meaning.

Though her work is largely figurative, Kühn adds surreal, abstract elements, such as fantastical flora, and objects that interfere with perspective. Her drawings and paintings suggest fanciful worlds, private and closed in many ways yet broadly resonant and open to a range of interpretations. Borrowing pictorial motifs from traditional Japanese landscapes and spatial relationships from Northern Renaissance painting, Kühn typically portrays solitary women in strange and vibrant interiors or exteriors.

Kühn’s work is the collections of Museum Frieder Burda, The Zabludowicz Collection, London, Neue Museum für Kunst, Freiburg, Sammlung der Landesbank Sachsen, Sammlung der Sparkasse Leipzig and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO. Since 2000, Susanne’s work has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions, in various venues around the world.

Susanne Kühn lives and works in Freiburg, Germany.

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