Artist: Emma Kunz

Kunz was a Swiss healer, researcher and artist. I saw her work for the first time at the Serpentine Gallery over Easter in the exhibition Emma Kunz – Visionary Drawings: An exhibition conceived with Christodoulos Panayiotou. I read about her work as we entered the exhibition and was immediately interested, and surprised, because I had not expected the drawings to be concerned with such issues! Here’s a quote from the exhibition description:

[Kunz’s] gift was an awareness of connections that contradicted both normal experience and scientific interpretations of the laws of Nature and art. This was a supernatural event, a miracle that, in revealing divine truths conveyed a secret impulse on a par with that of cosmic creation. Emma Kunz’s drawings are attempts to find a universal connection. They are the records of her concentration on the question of the Whole.

The idea that such simple tools – coloured pencils, a ruler, graph paper and sometimes a pendulum, can produce art about monumental issues is bold. Ideas of science, nature and spirituality aren’t the things I thought of when I saw the drawings. The exhibition didn’t have descriptions or names next to each work so there was no chance for impressions to be skewed by titles or descriptions. There was a free digital guide yey that had some information on individual pieces, but having the material paintings unaccompanied was great! It forced me to look at the drawing and the drawing only, with no distractions.

I took photos of my favourite drawings:

I really found my own meaning in these works. The ideas of spirituality and the whole universe etc didn’t come across to me, but I found the paintings interesting nonetheless. I do think the drawings have a mediative quality to them, the repetitive lines and simplicity made me think Kunz did these drawings as a form of moving meditation?
As well as this, I was immediately reminded of the structures in my paintings when I saw the drawings in person. These drawings felt to me like a colourful, more complex version of the structures I have been drawing. I imagined the Kunz’s drawings being the roof of structures, where I would stand directly underneath and looking up at the ceiling which was one of Kunz’s drawings.

I spent the time imagining how the lines and angles of the drawings could create 3D shapes, where points in the centre of the drawing point towards the sky or vie versa. I thought of this because all the drawings have lines that converge in one or multiple focus points. This to me appeared like peaks or troughs of a roof shape if looked at from another angle. This is a rough digital sketch of the kind of shapes I mean:

Seeing these drawings made me think about how I could push the structure shapes forward, using lines, and converging points for structures that are more complex than I have made before.

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