Friedrich Kunath: Mastering Abstract Painting

“Come back Romance, all is forgiven.” These words in neon lights draw from the streets all those insects of art, inviting them to lose themselves for hours in Friedrich Kunath’s “Things We Did When We Were Dead” at BQ, a gallery nestled at the far corner of Rosa Luxemburg Platz.


Inside, my sense of reality became skewed. From the canvas’ leapt kaleidoscopic worlds crammed with illustrative absurdities; Pinocchio’s female counterpart sits in a transparent shirt; a figure, half man-half ladybird cries into his hands and the clouds obscure the head of a boy reading a book, high up in the branches of a tree, and other oddities swarm the canvases. 


Friedrich Kunath Exhibition at BQ Things we did when we were dead

Friedrich Kunath, Things We Did When We Were Dead. Photo Courtesy of BQ Berlin.


Each work plays host to a rich world of perspectives, creating a multi-dimensional effect; illustrations unite in chaotic disregard of style and content, figures morph at second glance from the background and there is a consistent cloud of seamless colour which floats upon the surface. Step back three paces and the overarching image transforms once again, revealing shapes of maps and skulls.

Dense Yet Refreshing

The concept of time slipped through my fingers as I travelled fluidly from layer to layer witnessing the themes of death, failure and melancholia. Delving deeper into the wonderland of BQ I found giant matches peering down on me, some with expressions of smug contentedness and others wrought with despair. However, despite the existential questions lingering in the air, Kunath skilfully uses irony to manipulate his work in a way which allows the viewer to consider the exhibition from a surprisingly light perspective. A recurring motif was the human figure dressed as a ghost, his limbs protruding from beneath his white sheet yet his eyes replaced with the characteristic dark voids. Much of the work serves as a reminder of our own mortality, yet this humorous presence kept me in a state of cheerful curiosity.


BQ Friedrich Kunath, “Things We Did When We Were Dead” – April 27th – June 30th 2012. Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm.