I have always used photography as visual poetry
«It is very important to have a connection with yourself and your inner voice and allow it to grow within you and trust it.«
Mona Kuhn's naked bodies appear like ghosts in her photographs. Everything in her images emerges ethereal, misty, diffuse, and she does so based on a personal language in which nudity becomes the protagonist of scenes that seem to come out of a dream. Mona Kuhn captures her aesthetic sensibility with the help of an exquisite photographic technique. About her trajectory and her way of understanding the arts, she has spoken with young artists from the School TAI.
"Somehow I have always created those images within the borders of color”, explains Mona Kuhn to the students of TAI. The photos of him seem to show a world that floats, conceived from unique technical expertise. All this linked to his peculiar perception of the art of photography "as visual poetry".
«His peculiar treatment of the nude is what has given him international fame»
Born in Sao Paulo, but with a career developed mainly in the United States, Kuhn's photography stands out for its ooriginal process of light and an aesthetic commitment to the human: “My work is about the human being, about the essence of who we are, about how we see ourselves at this moment in time."He explains.
His peculiar treatment of the nude is what has given him international fame, thanks to projects such as Venice, Native, Evidence o Private. "I photograph the nude because it allows me to be more timeless”, he comments. precisely about Private has deepened in his meeting with the students of TAI"In that series I started imagining the meaning of the tones, the golden lights, the blacks, what was on my mind. And I can't really explain why, but this gave me some boundaries to stick with that palette.".
And from that first creative impulse he was generating a project in which repetition, the struggle to build images, spawned a visionary result. "Once the palette was established I started going out, photographing, revisiting the results, going over and over again until I really had something that started to have a shape in a way that made sense to me.”, he indicates.
The new means of diffusion of the Arts
Technology has changed the way images are displayed.. It has even changed the way photos are taken. On the one hand, it is a challenge, since it is difficult to assume the amount of information that is received: “We are bombarded by a lot of information, a lot of noise”, he points out. And this has a dangerous point for those who take their first step in creation: “Young artists could easily get lostthinks Mona Kuhn.
«It is very important to have a connection with your inner voice, to allow it to grow within you»
But, at the same time, these new technologies are an opportunity if you are able to control the times. “They need to start having a certain presence soon and nowadays social networks have become a very interesting tool.”, he points out. “I think that if you are informative and have a good job and something interesting to tell people about, little by little you will start to resonate and receive a growing interest in your work.”, he muses.
On the other hand, it is also important generate your own voice"It is very important to have a connection with your inner voice, to allow it to grow within you and to trust it. Once you get it, you just have to follow it".
The body, container of the person
Mona Kuhn is a paradigmatic example of what it means to create your own voice. And it is that his works of art are fully identifiable. "Somehow, I have always created those images within the borders of color.”, he explains to the students of TAI. And from these limits he builds the visual poetry that distinguishes his creations: “Sometimes the result makes perfect sense and other times it is also interesting that it does not make sense or confront two opposing ideas.".
Mona Kuhn's images are poems written with light instead of ink. The bodies and the nature that compose them are the verses that make up a different, visual, evocative poetry, brimming with talent.
Mona Kuhn was born in Sao Paulo in 1969 and soon found herself in the hands of a tool that will transform her way of looking at the world: a camera. She is 12 years old when her parents give her a Kodak. It doesn't take long for her to establish a very special, very personal relationship with the image, photographing those who are closest to her.
At the age of 20, he moved to the United States, where he began studying at The Ohio State University and, later, at the San Francisco Art Institute. In that city, he joined the artistic movements in vogue at the time and defined a style that soon became recognizable in American culture.
Kuhn opts for a figurative style, with a very personal approach to the nude. She employs a series of playful visual strategies that, thanks to her fascinating use of light, generate an integration of the person in nature.
At the end of the 90s, Mona Kuhn's images began to appear in the main galleries of the world. In 2004, Steidl published the first monograph on the Brazilian-born photographer, Photographs. Three years later the evolution of his work can be seen in Evidence.
In 2010, his series Native It marks his return to Brazil, his homeland, and is accompanied by a monograph. A year later Steidl publishes Bordeaux Series. Private, in 2014, was very well received by critics. In it, he enters the heart of the North American desert. Animal life, nude and landscape are intermingled to show human vulnerability in an apparently unchanging environment. In 2019 she presents her monograph She disappeared in complete silence.
In the spring of 2021, Stanley / Barker Editions publishes a retrospective with Kuhn's main works, a very complete review of the artistic evolution of the Brazilian-born photographer.
Mona Khun's photographic personality has garnered admiration from photography lovers and industry critics alike. In 2020 she receives the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for photography. A year later, the Los Angeles Center for Photography presents her with the Stieglitz Award, recognizing her continued excellence and commitment to the photographic profession.
Mona Kuhn lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in some of the most important museums in the world such as the Louvre, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Leopold Museum in Austria or the Australian Center for the Arts. In addition, her images are part of the permanent collection of eminent art centers such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts or the Kiyosato Museum of Japan.