Selected works by Friedrich Kunath

Friedrich Kunath
First Life Takes Time then Time Takes Life


Seven c-prints

Overall size 41.6 x 414 cm

Friedrich Kunath uses a wide range of ubiquitous media to explore themes around the melancholy, existential nature of everyday experience. His drawings, photos, prints and sculptures have an immediate yet quizzical charge, raising questions about the obvious. Kunath has the ability to imbue approachable, ordinary materials with conceptual heft, always lacing his treatment of quotidian pathos with a jester-like humour.

Friedrich Kunath


Leather, crayon on canvas, watercolour on paper, watercolour on canvas,

280 x 202 cm

Untitled (2007) builds up an exaggerated, vaudeville-style mask of sadness through parts that make it whole: a bird on a branch, a knotted rainbow, snowy windows, an inverted statue at dusk, branches blowing in the wind, a black giant poodle hanging its head. A symbolic single perfect tear and a lengthy staircase fall from the eyes of this tragicomic blonde harlequin, whose diamonds have been transposed onto his cheeks.

Friedrich Kunath
Untitled (detail)


Screenprint on wood, 13 lamps, and 7 clay figures

173 x 199.5 x 199.5 cm

The seven colour photographs comprising First Life Takes Time Then Time Takes Life (2010) show seven frames almost repeating the same still-life composition: a piece of toast leaning on a pineapple-shaped white vase. Gravitas and the art-historical memento mori are referenced and made lighter by the gag inherent in Kunath’s visual pun – the ‘time’ alluded to in the title is illustrated through the noticeable change from frame to frame, showing the slice of bread being ‘overexposed’ and toasted to a cinder.

Friedrich Kunath


Gouache, watercolour, varnish on canvas

200 x 280 cm

In the sculpture Untitled, (2007) Kunath teases out ideas of existential anxiety shedding literal light over an appropriated New Yorker cartoon of shipwrecks hiding from their rescuers. The platform on which the scene is being examined is completed by kitschy figurines, including the classical Pierrot. Summing up Kunath’s sad clown approach to art-making are his thoughts on becoming an artist: ‘I can only refer to Werner Herzog, who said that the only artists left are those working in the circus.’

Other Resources
Additional images and information – Friedrich Kunath
Various and images - Friedrich Kunath
Modern and contemporary artists and art - Friedrich Kunath
Representing gallery – past exhibition information and selected worksRepresenting gallery, press releases and artist information as well as a selection of images.
Mariah Robertson’s hypnotic large scale photographs use colored special effects filters and multiple exposures on a single piece of film to achieve their uncanny visual effects.
Learn to Read drawing together artists using text in their work includes a short synopsis of Kunath’s approach as well as other participating artists, 19 June – 2 September 2007.
Links to Kunath’s past exhibitions.
Video of “Twilight” an exhibition combining sculpture, painting and photography at the Anthea Rosen Gallery.
Makings of the Sublime group exhibition details at La Galerie Centre D’Art Contemporain.
Exhibition details from “About Souffle” an installation in 2004 at Blum and Poe