Jackson Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Mona Kuhn and Kahn & Selesnick. For Mona Kuhn’s emerging body of work, under the working title Reckless, the artist has brought her signature process of photographing the human form with striking intimacy and candor to La Lande, a pine forest in France.  Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, a collaborative artist team who have been working together since 1988, are known for their complex narrative photo-novellas and installations. For their current body of work, Truppe Fledermaus (2012-present) Kahn & Selesnick respond to the anxieties of a warming planet by imagining a fictitious cabaret troupe who travel the countryside staging absurd and inscrutable performances beyond the town’s edge. Both series draw on art historical references in order to embody, in both execution and content, liminal spaces on the brink; their subjects exist in a state of ahistorical reverie, outside of time.

For her Reckless work, Kuhn has turned away from digital photography, instead shooting on film with the desired outcome of creating a less mediated experience with her subjects. Kuhn depicts models in the nude resting, their eyes shut, suggesting a state of trance. Recalling Édouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and other Impressionist paintings depicting figures at leisure in pastoral landscapes, Mona weaves together elements of dreams and poetry into an elaborate set of compositions. The images are shot from a bird’s eye view, flattening the perspective and eliminating a horizontal line, a surrealist approach inspired by Joan Miro and Jeans Arp compositions. The photographic images resemble figure drawings suspended by the uncensored creative impulses of the unconscious, a plunge into what the surrealist poet Louis Aragon called “a wave of dreams”.

Mona Kuhn was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1969, of German descent. She received her BA from The Ohio State University, before furthering her studies at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1996. She is currently an independent scholar at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Mona Kuhn's work has been exhibited and/or included in the collections of The J.Paul Getty Museum, The George Eastman House, and others.

The photographs comprising Truppe Fledermaus draw on a wealth of references, from Hieronymus Bosch and Samuel Beckett to René Magritte and Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, in which the central concept is an apocalyptic floating world of pleasure. Kahn & Selesnick’s apocalyptic visions are revelatory, rather than dystopic—fantastical bats and men wander about, a prophet wears silver plaques and has a house for a head, Pre-Raphealite figures float amid flowers and moths, their faces content. This proliferation of illusory images serves as a metaphor for the manner in which seemingly inexhaustible quantities of information are disseminated to us in the modern world and celebrates the madness of an unknown tomorrow.

Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn, both born in 1964, have participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions worldwide and have work in over 20 collections including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution.