There Must Be A Spanish Word For This Feeling
CAC Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain
CAC Málaga is pleased to present the first museum exhibition in Spain by German-born Los Angeles-based artist Friedrich Kunath. There Must Be A Spanish Word For This Feeling features a selection of twenty paintings made between 2015 and 2023, some of them exhibited here for the first time. With a deeply personal style that confronts the banal and ordinary with the sublime, Kunath creates poignant, often melancholic images combined with poetic phrases which propose a vision of the world suffused with paradox, humor, and irony, shifting between reality and an oneiric landscape.
Friedrich Kunath was born in 1974 in Chemintz, East Germany. In 1985 he moved with his family to Brunswick where he studied at the Braunschweig University of Art, with artist Walter Dahn as his Professor. He moved to Los Angeles in 2007 and continues to live and work there today. These personal journeys have marked the artist’s work, while his life on the West Coast has enabled him to approach his work with greater freedom.
Kunath’s oeuvre spans painting, sculpture, drawing, video, photography, and installation. His references and interests are wide-ranging, including art history, popular culture, German philosophy, commercial illustration, nature photography, the dazzling world of Hollywood and Los Angeles, perfume, and tennis. Music is an essential element for the artist, and he often makes reference to or includes song titles or lyrics in his paintings. The title of the show, There Must Be A Spanish Word For This Feeling, comes from the lyrics of the song “Albemarle Station” by US musician and poet David Berman—a very important figure for Kunath—from the album The Natural Bridge (1996).
Kunath combines a variety of images and elements from landscape painting with cartoon figures and texts in tragicomic compositions filled with dichotomies (happiness-sadness, east-west, light-darkness, deep-superficial, etc.), romanticism that steers away from nostalgia, irony that shuns cynicism, ambiguity, and emotions that evoke universal feelings such as love, loss, hope, loneliness, optimism, and despair. All of this invites viewers to reflect on life’s great questions, but with a touch of sarcasm and humor.
Kunath’s paintings are complex narratives with different technical and conceptual levels: the autobiographical, emotional, and conceptual converge, offering different perspectives that draw us into his surreal universe. His works are about people trying to find their way in the world, struggling to define their lives, exploring the human condition and social values.