Kunz would sometimes work on a single ‘energy field’ drawing for 24 hours without rest, creating complex geometric designs on graph paper with coloured pencils. Séance and ritual were central to her practice and in 1938 she started using a divining pendulum to dictate her patterns. The resulting designs were then consulted for a range of insights into individual problems and issues with the world at large.
Emma Kunz at her working table, Waldstatt, 1958, Photo: © Emma Kunz Zentrum
In 1942 Kunz discovered a stone in a Roman quarry that she believed had healing properties. The rock, which she named AION A (meaning without limitation), is still available in powdered form in pharmacies throughout Switzerland. Curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist claims to take this remedy daily. Such was the importance of AION A to Kunz, that artist Christodoulos Panayiotou, a collaborator on this exhibition, has made benches from the stone, which are positioned in every gallery throughout the show.
Whether you believe in the healing possibilities of Kunz’s drawings or approach such things with scepticism, it must be said that as artistic objects, her drawings are extraordinarily elegant and complex things. She never trained as an artist, but the aesthetic appeal of her work is undeniable, seeming to flirt with modernism, despite the fact that she is said to have almost never engaged with the art world.
Although she published three books in her lifetime, Kunz’s work was not exhibited until after her death. She explained very little about individual drawings, all of which remained untitled, but believed that they were destined for the 21st century. And that prophecy certainly came true.
|What||Emma Kunz exhibition, Serpentine Gallery review|
|Where||Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
23 Mar 19 – 19 May 19, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information|