Artwork of the month October

Gary Kuehn, Branch Piece, 1964

Gary Kuehn

* 1939 in Plainfield, New Jersey (US) lives and works in New York (US)

 Branch Piece, 1964

Wood, paint, branches, threaded rods
30.5 x 242 x 60 cm

Branch Piece – a precisely fashioned hollow cuboid of wooden slats whose artificial geometric form is additionally accentuated by its blue colour, meets the organic material of naturally grown branches. To "bind" the raw material to the rectangular blue object, the artist uses two wooden panels, painted white, that emulate the dimension of the cuboid's long side, one of which is attached directly to it. With the aid of six long threaded rods creating a tensile joint between the two panels, the branches are pressed together into a bundle following the straight, flat form.

Gary Kuehn belongs to a generation of artists who took as their starting point the factual elementary vocabulary of form of minimal art in the 1960s in the USA, refining and transforming it in their work. Kuehn's focus is thus not so much on the aspect of proportioned equal organisation of form and material in real space as on the aspect of perceptible construction principles in a processual context. In this context, he binds, presses and deforms geometric elements of a soft, quality, for example, by means of contrasting materials and the deliberate action of physical forces. Taking a processual approach, he undermines the strict "rigidity" of these basic forms, that appear almost poppy in terms of their colours and modified material substance.

Viewing the Branch Piece, one can also experience an emotional sensory perspective that is characteristic of Kuehn's works in their specific character: "There were always personal advances that were very closely related to the pieces that I was making at the time. And then when things opened up the work reflected that." The natural material is delimited by the rigid structure, pressed together, brought into form – with hints of correspondences to human, inner-psychological, instinct-driven dynamics shaped, formed and held by the personal and societal environment.

Denise Rigaud

<b>Gary Kuehn, Branch Piece, 1964</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.