19 Apr L.A. Louver presents Kienholz Berlin | Hope
Show Runs Through: March 13th – April 26th, 2014
Ed and Nancy Kienholz Berlin | Hope
LA. Louver is pleased to announce an exhibition of assemblage sculptures created by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz between 1975-1979. Most of the works have not been exhibited for several decades. and some will be on view for the first time in the US.
During their initial years of marriage and artistic partnership, which began in 1972, Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz established studios in Berlin, Germany and Hope, Idaho. Featuring early works produced in both places, Berlin/Hope investigates the nature of their studio activity as influenced by these two very different environments, between which the couple divided their time for over 20 years.
I really begin to understand any society by going through its junk stores and flea markets. It is a form of education and historical orientation for me. I can see the results of ideas in what is thrown away by a culture.
– Ed Kienholz
When Ed received a grant from the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) in 1973, the couple uprooted from Los Angeles and moved to West Berlin. The Kienholzes began their orientation in the city by frequenting the flea markets, where they came across small Bakelite radios, and were instantly drawn to their simple design. They soon learned that these radios, known as Volksempfangers (German for “the people’s receiver”), were mass-produced and distributed by the Nazi regime as a conduit for spreading propaganda. Fascinated by their controversial past. the Kienholzes utilized these mundane, yet culturally charged objects to form the basis of their Volksempfiingers series. Placed atop a kitchen table. set into a fire screen, embedded within a cement box, or combined with washboards, Nazi regalia and other flea market finds, the radios personify the dark history that resonated deeply in post-war Berlin. Defunct of their initial intent, the radios no longer broadcast the dictatorial messages of the Third Reich, but amplify stanzas from Richard Wagner’s epic opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung. Produced between 1975-1977, seven works from the Volksempfangers series are included in the exhibition.
Drawn to the seclusion of Northern Idaho, the Kienholzes sought to establish a studio l and art community where they could develop work and expand the worldview of people that inhabited the area. Nestled in dense forest on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, they constructed a house and studio from the ground up, beginning in 1973. Some of the first works to emerge from Hope, Idaho were the White Easel series. Created between 1977-1979, the White Easels are perhaps the most intimate works ever produced by the artists. Repurposing building materials that remained from the studio construction, they replicated the wood-beamed easel set against the I cinderblock walls of the new building. Layered with sheets of steel paneling, I and incorporating such found objects as a wooden hand, a homemade gun and an elephant leg, each work has self-contained lighting. The Kienholzes used the same lights that were installed throughout their studio to illuminate the sculptures, thus demonstrating their reverence of drawing and composition, and introspective moments of making. We are pleased to have four works from this series in the exhibition.