Internationally recognized for her alluring renderings of the human form, Mona Kuhn’s approach to this classic theme, while acknowledging her predecessors, creates work that is sensual but never overtly sexual. Kuhn’s camera captures something beyond gender, age, beauty and time. Her subjects are part of her life, not professional models. The result is an intimate glimpse into a being’s reality.
After 12 years working mostly in a naturist community in France, Mona turned her attention recently to her homeland in Brazil. Mona Kuhn's captivating new book, Native, is the follow up to her critically acclaimed monograph, Evidence (both monographs published by Steidl)
In her latest body of work, Mona Kuhn returns to her native country after 20
years of absence. Native unfolds as a dreamy narration of this adult exploration of
her origins. Photographed in the rainforest and surrounding city area, Kuhn’s images
of nudes, portraits and nature are suffused with a deep green, gold and pink palette.
"This work started as a personal journey,” writes Kuhn. "Metaphorically, I was
thinking of a bird that flies back into the forest, searching for its childhood nest. The
images here are a creation of my abstracted wishes and dreams. As I was searching,
instead of home, I found just traces of it. Yet, my journey was filled with new
Shelley Rice describes Kuhn’s Brazil as “mobile, never fixed; it moves back and forth
between wilderness and civilization, between carnality and oblivion, fecundity and
decay. Undifferentiated, it swims forever in a sea of green and gold.” Wayne
Andersen comments “This series of images come together as a regeneration of her
bond to a place that was once her only place.”
Mona Kuhn was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1969, of German descent. She earned
her degrees in the United States from Ohio State University and the San Francisco
Art Institute. Since 1998, she has been an independent studies scholar at the Getty
Research Institute in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited, and is included in
public and private collections, in the United States and internationally.
Kuhn’s first monograph, Photographs, was debuted by Steidl in 2004; followed by,
Evidence, also published by Steidl in Spring 2007. In 2008, Mona Kuhn was a visiting
artist at The Pasadena Arts. She has lectured about her work at the Cincinnati Art
Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art and the
International Center of Photography in NYC. She lives and works in Los Angeles.