The Refined Protest of Edward Kienholz at the Blain|Southern

A highly-personal vision, extremely critical of the American political climate and its society during the Twentieth Century, is the basis of the scathing works of Edward Kienholz. The artist from Fairfield, creator of giant tableaux, often realised in collaboration with his wife Nancy Reddin Kienholz, and featured in some of the most important collections throughout the world, is at the centre of an exhibition entitled America My Hometown at the Blain|Southern, which looks at the artist’s formative years, including those from 1954 to 1967. The first work on display, One Day Wonder Painting, from 1954, reveals the initial desire of Kienholz to become a painter. Then, of course, there are the works created by transforming found-materials, such as furniture scavenged on the streets of Los Angeles and re-assembled to compose complex tableaux with a raging intelligence and a rare inventiveness. Four years after One Day Wonder Painting, came Kienholz’ The Little Eagle Rock Incident, a furious reaction to the racism of Arkansas Central High School. This was the first work by the artist which was directly inspired by current events. The founder of the legendary Ferus Gallery, which took aim at unbridled capitalism, the artist with the light touch, regardless of the aggressive tones of his works, refined his protest against a dehumanised society, dominated by fear. The Nativity, created in 1961, is one of the most-celebrated depictions of this biblical story, reinterpreted with recovered materials and the daily icons of Los Angeles, his adopted home.
Samantha De Martin - © 2018 for Bulgari Hotel London