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rudolf kohn
Artist's Statement
  Rudolf Kohn:
Demystifying through Art
By Jorge de la Fuente
Arts expressionistic patrimony has
significantly marked mans vision and
everyday life since the latter part of the
19th Century. The liberating act
conferred an unprecedented plastic
autonomy to color and shape is the
expressive complement of a thematic
thats very much centered on society
and the problems of existence.
Anguish, lack of communication,
alienation and desecration of myths
about modern life and progress are
among the motives that inspired the
expressionist rebellion.
Expressionistic poetry is linked in
different ways to primitive art, popular
representation forms and even
childrens art because its there where
an "uncontaminated" source of
expression can be found, where
emotions and the exploration of the
most revealing interior experiences
are given free reign. Perhaps that
explains the autobiographical aspects
of the works of many expressionists, or
at least, the active presence of
personal experiences in thematic
selection.
Rudolf Kohns paintings are intense
and dramatic but with fine touches of
humor and great irony. The way in
which he adopts expressionist codes
seems to reflect his origins peculiar
cultural symbiosis: son of a German
father and Colombian mother. His
works combine rationality with
precision in the drawing of exalted
fantasies and the magic of someone
who has lived the uncommon as part
of daily life.
This artists critical sensibility touches
with equal questioning dosages on
aspects of societys realities, which
range from a sort of an expression of
Caribbean regional customs to the big
subjects of alienation and existential
perplexity. The subjects of violence,
machismo, the mechanization of
human life and death itself are
represented with the peculiar
sharpness of someone who observes
reality with a mix of involvement and
distance.
In much of Kohns works there is a
strong presence of graphic elements
that along with the caricaturization of
its characters and the explosive use of
color make up images that are very
similar to the way in which signs and
illustration were reformulated by Pop
Art. This is an interesting fact because
it contrasts with the actual artists other
types of more Baroque and informal
painting, in which color stains, canvas
scratches, oil drips and the general
conception of composition propose a
more distressful look at man in what
seems to be a permanent homage to
Edward Munchs "The Scream."
In fact, Kohn is an artist whose
aesthetical and social motives come in
a broad fan of different tones, accents
and symbols that, despite their
differences, always have to do with a
critical and demystifying look at todays
culture. More than likely faces, his
characters seem to be an alter ego that
is revealed as a mask and simulacrum;
however, a sort of compassionate
lyricism peeks out sometimes, which is
ironys other aspect.
Thats why his scenes may come to be
grotesque or, on the contrary, project
an image in which figures show an
overwhelming abandonment in
dehumanized atmosphere where
everything even a flower seems
artificial. Somehow, the ironized
situation moves the artist and that is
reflect in his level of commitment to this
subject, in how he identifies himself
with those beings transmuted by his
imagination into symbols of the human
condition.
Whats heterodox is not only found in
the subject matter or in his treatment of
plastic; Kohn is an artist who knows no
boundaries and who resorts to any
expressive recourse as he tries to
communicate to us not a particular
anecdote but an artistic event. Ever
since his first works, the
experimentation with techniques,
media and unconventional props
showed the need to find symbols that
transmitted an artistic idea powerfully
and originally. Stucco, wood, jute
sacks, collages or wooden boxes with
personal objects or pictorial effects are
among the alternatives the artists
chose to show the semantic value of
materials and props.
If the presence of wheels, transmission
pulleys and other mechanical devices
that articulate the human body is a
direct way of representation the
substitution of the soul or the spiritual
by technology an image thats
characteristic of the "Bicharros" series-,
the other constant symbol in Kohns
works is the transcendental and
omnipresent eye. The eye- according
to the artist himself- is the earthly
incarnation of Gods presence and
shows that that everything is lost.
Finally, Kohns painting is also an
exploration of those contrasts between
authenticity and alienation, between
whats human and divine, between
whats transcendental and daily. And
along that path of searches he has
conquered the language of original
codes that manage to have a more
emotional impact on spectators than
the reality itself that they reveal.
EN ESPANOL
     Rudolf Kohn:
Desmitificar a través del arte
Por Jorge de la Fuente
La herencia expresionista en el arte
ha marcado significativamente la
vision del hombre y la cotidianidad
desde finales del siglo pasado. El acto
liberador que confiere al color y la
forma una autonomia plastica sin
precedentes es el complemento
expresivo de una tematica muy
centrada en lo social y en la
problematicidad de la existencia. La
angustia, la incomunicacion, la
alienacion y la desacralizacion de los
mitos de la modernidad y el progreso
son algunos motivos que inspiraron la
rebelion expresionista.
La poética expresionista, de diferentes
modos, está conectada con el arte
primitivo, con las formas populares de
representacion e incluso con el arte de
los niños porque es aqui donde
encuentra una fuente "incontaminada"
de expresión desde la cual dar rienda
suelta a las emociones y explorar las
vivencias interiores mas reveladoras.
Quizás esto explique el caracter
autobiografico de la obra de muchos
expresionistas o, al menos, la
presencia activa de la vivencia
personal en la seleccion tematica.
La pintura de Rudolf Kohn es intensa y
dramática pero matizada por una fina
dosis de humor y una gran ironía. El
modo en que asume los códigos
expresionistas parecen reflejar la
peculiar simbiosis cultural de su
origen: hijo de padre aleman y madre
colombiana .En su obra se combinan
la racionalidad y precisión en el dibujo
con la exaltada fantasía y la magia de
quien ha vivido lo insólito como un
hecho cotidiano. La sensibilidad crítica
de este artista toca con igual dosis de
cuestionamiento aspectos de la
realidad social que van desde una
especie de costumbrismo caribeño
hasta los grandes tópicos de la
enajenación y el desconcierto
existencial. Los temas de la violencia,
el machismo, la mecanizacion de la
vida humana y la muerte misma estan
representados con esa agudeza
peculiar de quien observa la realidad
con una mezcla de implicacion y
distancia.
En buena parte de la obra de Kohn
hay una fuerte presencia del elemento
gráfico que unido a la caricaturización
de sus personajes y al uso explosivo
del color conforma una imagen muy
próxima al diseño de carteles y a la
ilustración tal y como fueron
reformulados por el Pop Art. Y este es
un dato interesante porque contrasta
con otro tipo de pintura mas barroca e
informalista del propio artista en
donde la mancha de color, el rayado
del lienzo, el chorreado del oleo y la
concepción general de la composición
proponen una mirada mas angustiante
sobre el hombre en lo que parece ser
un homenaje permanente a "El Grito",
de Edward Munch.
En realidad , Kohn es un artista cuyas
motivaciones estéticas y sociales se
mueven en un amplio abanico de
tonos, acentos y símbolos que pese a
sus diferencias siempre giran
alrededor de una percepción crítica y
desmitificante de la cultura actual. Mas
que rostros posibles , sus personajes
parecen un alter ego revelado en
forma de máscara y simulacro; sin
embargo, a veces asoma un cierto
lirismo compasivo que es el otro
costado de la ironía.
Por eso sus escenas pueden llegar a
lo grotesco o, por el contrario, dar una
imagen en la que las figuras muestran
un desamparo sobrecogedor , en
ambientes deshumanizados donde
todo- hasta una flor- parece artificial.
De algun modo, la situación ironizada
conmueve al artista y eso se refleja en
su grado de compromiso con el tema,
en su identificación con esos seres
transmutados por su imaginación en
símbolos de la condición humana.
Pero no sólo en los temas y en su
tratamiento plástico hay heterodoxia;
Kohn es un artista que no conoce
fronteras y que apela a cualquier
recurso expresivo en el intento de
comunicarnos no una anécdota
particular sino un hecho artístico.
Desde sus trabajos iniciales ,la
experimentación con técnicas, medios
y soportes no convencionales
evidenció su necesidad de encontrar
significantes que trasmitieran la idea
artística con más fuerza y originalidad.
El estuco ,la madera, el saco de
yute,los collages o las cajas de
madera con objetos personales o
efectos pictóricos son algunas
alternativas con las que el artista quiso
mostrar el valor semántico del material
y el soporte.
Si la presencia de ruedas, poleas de
transmisión y otros dispositivos
mecánicos articulando el organismo
humano es un modo directo de
representar la sustitución del alma o lo
espiritual por la tecnología - imagen
característica de la serie "Bicharros"-,
el otro símbolo constante en la obra de
Kohn es el ojo trascendental y
omnipresente. El ojo- segun el propio
artista- es la encarnación terrena de la
presencia de Dios y la muestra de que
no todo esta perdido.
Finalmente, la pintura de Kohn es
tambien una exploración en esos
contrastes entre la autenticidad y la
alienación, entre lo humano y lo
divino,entre la trascendencia y lo
cotidiano.Y por ese camino de
busquedas ha ido conquistando un
lenguaje de originales códigos que
logra tener en el espectador mas
impacto emotivo que la propia
realidad que nos revelan.
Artist's Statement
W hat is an Ozotron?

As the ozone layer continues to erode,
we risk turning another natural
resource into a commodity, much like
bottled water or the oxygen bars of
Japan, further reducing our natural
freedom. The Ozotron is an ironic
commentary on the growing danger
that we’ll become dependent on
machines to produce resources like
ozone that were previously available
naturally and free.
RK
R UDOLF KOHN
Artist's Statement
W hat is an Ozotron?

As the ozone layer continues to erode,
we risk turning another natural
resource into a commodity, much like
bottled water or the oxygen bars of
Japan, further reducing our natural
freedom. The Ozotron is an ironic
commentary on the growing danger
that we’ll become dependent on
machines to produce resources like
ozone that were previously available
naturally and free.
 


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