Stefan Kurten - Reviews - Brief Article
By David Frankel, ArtForum, Sept 2002 Looking at Stefan Kurten's painting Long Time Now, 2002, I suddenly thought of an old children's-book illustration for a long-unremembered nursery rhyme: "Little Jack Homer sat in a corner, / Eating his Christmas pie"--that one. The artist had imagined a small boy sitting scrunched on the floor in a corner, gazing wonderingly at a pie he held on his lap. Though the child was brightly lit, the room's walls, towering above him, rose up in shadowy darkness--and they were covered with the wildest wallpaper, a universe of magical symbols and signs. Even now I love that picture: Surrounded by intimations of the enormous world, wide, various, and not completely safe, the boy is yet intent on immediate pleasures and nourishments, if a little awed by them as well.
Long Time Now shows a familiar kind of interior, a modernist living room. In a style once radical and now commonplace in suburbia, the house has glass walls; we are looking into the junction of two of them, a corner comfortably furnished with armchairs, a rug, a designer lamp. The stretch of glass is framed on the right by a panel of crazy-paving masonry (part of a fireplace, maybe) and on the left by the dark leaves of a big philodendron--one of several potted plants lined up on a wide sill at floor level under the window. The plants rise up ... and up ... and utterly fill the glass with pattern and color. Actually, some of this must be outside, the greenery indoors fusing visually with the blossom and foliage in the garden; but in the painting's odd space (the spread of flowers is a flat wall, though there's a ninety-degree angle in there somewhere) the two are indistinguishable. As in the Little Jack Homer illustration, a deliriously wild nature watches over an island of comfort, revealing it as funny, fra gile, and dear. Read the entire articleSource: