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Stefan Kurten
From Outside Within

2017

About

Stefan Kürten likes to say that every weekend of his childhood was spent accompanying his parents and their realtor in their search for the “perfect home.” In his most recent body of work, Kürten explores the deep and universal yearning to find that quintessential place. With eleven paintings on paper, Kürten imagines what the perfect home would look like. Chic. Modern. Glassy. Immaculate. Affluent. Open. Enveloped by and harmonious with nature. Safe. Epitomizing the dazzling promise of economic prosperity and social stability in the post-World War II West. These images exert a powerful emotional pull. Yet are also — often indefinably — uncanny. In Kürten’s aestheticized architectural images, there is nearly always a reflection: in a pool, a plate glass window, the structure of a building. Or sometimes it’s somewhere uncanny, like symmetry in the foliage of a carefully-clipped landscape or an inkblot-patterned sky. More often than not, the reflections are suspect—a glimpse of something counterintuitive. A Miró (or is that a Kandinsky?) in the living room is definitely a Mondrian in the swimming pool. The windows of a house bathed in a midday glow reflect a starry nighttime sky. A verdant, overgrown tangle has, as its parallel, desert cacti. There’s an And-What-Alice-Found-There aspect to Kürten’s work—a line walked between photorealism and surrealism—that makes us ask, what is going on here? The imagery is too true to life, too subtly problematic for us to immediately know why it’s unsettling. Each of these paintings is divided into quadrants. Or more precisely, each picture plane is composed of four sheets of paper, joined to make one. Those material connections further fracture the pretense of realism, adding to Kürten’s faceted world-view of potential alternate realities. In the creation of imagery, as in haberdashery, while a seam is where pieces are put together to make a whole, it’s also where things are most likely to come apart.

Details

  • Condition
    Excellent.
  • Dimensions

    H 23.625 in. x W 33.125 in.

    H 60.01 cm x W 84.14 cm

  • Gallery location
    San Francisco, CA
  • Reference number
    LU602272231

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