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Andrzej Kuhn at Eighty Goldmark Gallery

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front cover: 1. Song for the Lion, oil on canvas, 88.0 x 88.0 cm opposite: 2. Gypsies, oil on board, 32.1 x 33.9 cm

Andrzej Kuhn

Andrzej Kuhn at Eighty

Goldmark Gallery 2009

3. Voyage to the Heavenly Wholes, oil on canvas, 96.6 x 96.2 cm

Kuhn on Kuhn

To me, painting is like a journey into an unknown world. With my paint brushes ready at hand I travel in my mind to forgotten lands, lost deep in the obscure corners of memory, and penetrate to undiscovered islands of emotion. In those far lands I meet strange people, creatures of the imagination. They are poets, fiddlers, sailors, tramps. Their heads are large and their bodies out of proportion. I invite them to come with me and I set them on canvas, where they can live again, smoking their pipes, talking and wondering at this new existence. In their funny hats and coats, playing primitive fiddles and flutes, they feel equally at home in flat, two-dimensional houses or among steep mountains reaching towards the sky and a blue sun. Animals as strange as themselves accompany them in their daily, unending tasks. Time does not exist as long as the canvas holds together

their universe, the world created out of paint in which they exist. And this world is a real world, as real as ours. We have only to understand its different laws. For me the Old Man from the Mountains, resting on a stone on the way to town, with his tiny dog at the end of a lead, is a real person. I expect him sometimes to get up and move. He never does, but he speaks to me from his place on the wall and amuses me when I am depressed. He is a poet and he has many stories for those who can accept his strange existence fashioned out of shapes and colours. I am sure there are many such individual worlds hidden in our inner selves, waiting to be discovered by artists and poets. Perhaps they may help us to understand more of our world of which we know so little... Andrzej Kuhn From The British Journal of Aesthetics, 1961.

4. Warriors, oil on board, 94.2 x 107.7 cm

Andrzej Kuhn was born in Iwow, Poland in 1929 and experienced an extremely turbulent childhood. In 1940 Russia invaded Poland and Kuhnʼs father was arrested as an enemy of the state and held in a camp. Meanwhile Andrzej with his mother and sister were deported and transported through Russia to Kazakhstan under terrible conditions. After trying to escape with her children, Kuhnʼs mother was sentenced to 10 years in a labour camp where she died. The children were sent to an orphanage but after a twist of fate were reunited with their father. The following years were spent in refugee camps across the Middle East; Iran, Palestine and Egypt. During this time Kuhn would feed his imagination through the illustrative postage stamps that he had picked up in Russia and a cherished book of childrenʼs fables. He found great comfort and consolation in these images during his exile and the escape to an inner world was eventually to inform every aspect of his painting. As a consequence, art, for Kuhn, was to be ʻsomething to look at in times of troubleʼ. In 1947 Kuhn arrived in England and spent the next six years working as a labourer alongside his father. Although the work was exhausting and all-consuming, Kuhn often had difficulty sleeping. He purchased books and in the depths of night would try to read the foreign words in an attempt to teach himself the language. After a spell in the merchant navy Kuhn answered an advertisement in a Polish newspaper and won a scholarship to Chelsea School of Art.

At Chelsea Kuhn discovered the work of Aubrey Beardsley. The elegance and rhythm of Beardsleyʼs drawings and their allusions to Eastern design appealed greatly to Kuhn; the aim, not to create an illusion of reality but to make a beautiful design or pattern within a given space. Kuhn discovered his own artistic voice very quickly and, against the fashion for representation, began to express his ideas in much the same way as he does to this day. Flat, mythical scenes, in a rich palette of colours and subtle textures, are always peopled by strange and wonderful characters; weary travellers, resting angels, benevolent moons, lions, lovers, fishermen and musicians. For Kuhn, these are real people, real events, their images arriving, fully formed, in his imagination pulled from the reservoir of human experience. After Chelsea, Kuhn left London and settled, with his family, in a low-ceilinged, wooden, coastguardʼs house overlooking the Wash and the bleakness of the Fens. On arriving Kuhn planted trees around the house and is now, half a century later, surrounded by a wood. His house, garden and studio are an oasis, full of magical sculptures and paintings, rugs, trinkets and icons. Now at eighty and with a generosity of spirit, integrity and originality, Andrzej Kuhn is still producing pictures of great tenderness and serenity. These beautiful and extraordinary paintings, deceptively naïve yet highly sophisticated, tinged with both humour and melancholia, will bring warmth and comfort to all who set eyes on them. J.O.G. 2009

5. Lighthouse Keeper, oil on canvas, 120.8 x 90.1 cm

6. The Fisherman, oil on board, 116.7 x 81.3 cm

7. Last King of Atlantis, oil on board, 106.6 x 98.4 cm

8. Departure of Angels, oil on canvas, 121.8 x 152.0 cm

9. Port of Call, oil on board, 112.1 x 95.0 cm

10. Lovers United, oil on canvas, 100.0 x 74.8 cm

11. Jester and Bird, oil on canvas, 97.6 x 98.0 cm

12. Heart of the Sea, oil on board, 110.1 x 110.1 cm

13. Surprise Cargo, oil on canvas, 59.4 x 74.6 cm

14. Where the Cockles Grow Old, oil on canvas, 59.4 x 74.6 cm

15. Painter in Other Space, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 60.7 cm

16. Dancing Dervish, oil on canvas, 49.7 x 59.7 cm

17. Two Successful Fishermen, oil on canvas, 88.5 x 88.5 cm

18. Tired Angel, oil on canvas, 88.7 x 88.7 cm

19. Trumpeter始s Rest, oil on board, 107.8 x 120.1 cm

20. Moon in the Puddle, oil on board, 96.0 x 87.5 cm

21. Will of the Wisp, oil on canvas, 63.1 x 70.7 cm

22. Fisherman始s Paradise, oil on canvas, 59.4 x 74.6 cm

23. Clock Seller, oil on board, 53.0 x 57.1 cm

24. Of Days That Used To Be, oil on board, 49.0 x 66.6 cm

25. Before the Voyage, oil on canvas, 81.2 x 101.5 cm

26. Dancing Islands, oil on board, 82.5 x 120.7 cm

27. Time Keeper, oil on canvas, 89.7 x 89.7 cm

28. Guardian Angel, oil on canvas, 88.7 x 88.7 cm

29. The Other Side of the Moon, oil on canvas, 90.2 x 120.6 cm

30. Departure of Gods, oil on canvas, 89.0 x 119.7 cm

31. Coee Maker, oil on board, 59.3 x 59.3 cm

32. Determined Fisherman, oil on canvas, 39.6 x 49.8 cm

33. Encounter, oil on canvas, 58.4 x 48.6 cm

34. Stormy Crossing of the Wash, oil on board, 41.3 x 49.3 cm

35. Restful Moment, oil on board, 81.2 x 92.6 cm

36. Two Musicians, oil on canvas, 90.5 x 90.0 cm

37. Tree Top Party, oil on canvas, 50.9 x 60.6 cm

38. Against the Current, oil on board, 37.3 x 47.2 cm

39. Red Kasbah, oil on canvas board, 50.0 x 50.0 cm

40. Chess Game, oil on board, 37.0 x 37.0 cm

41. Crossing the Bridge, oil on canvas, 30.4 x 40.7 cm

43. Strange Passenger, oil on board, 24.3 x 46.8 cm 42. Camel Trip, oil on canvas, 30.2 x 40.6 cm

45. Artist Painting the Moon, oil on board, 26.0 x 48.3 cm

44. Taking the Dog for a Walk, oil on board, 30.4 x 39.4 cm

Text © Andrzej Kuhn Text © Jay Goldmark Illustrations © Andrzej Kuhn Photography Jay Goldmark/Christian Soro Design Porter/Goldmark ISBN 978 1 870507 60 8 2009

Goldmark Gallery, Orange Street, Uppingham, Rutland, LE15 9SQ Open Monday to Saturday 9.30 - 5.30, Sundays 2.30 - 5.30 and Bank Holidays

01572 821424

For Kuhn, these are real people, real events, their images arriving, fully formed, in his imagination pulled from the reservoir of human experience.

Andrzej Kuhn at Eighty