contemporary art / history of art

Irene Kung

Born in 1958 in Switzerland, Irene grew up with a mother who was painter and so she started painting early. Nevertheless, another of her earliest passions was photography, like she stated in an interview in 2014. When she was aged 20, Irene was shooting portraits. Due to her interest for images, she studied graphic design in Rome and worked for years in the advertising business. During this time she continued to study painting. Her first subjects were realistic, so she was early recognized for her still-lifes. While starting to exhibit her works, her images became slowly more abstract. Stimulated by the Roman gallerist Valentina Bonomo, she concentrated on photography, using it as a new tool of expression after working with different techniques like painting, graphics, sculpting and incision.

In one of the ongoing series Irene focuses on architecture. Here she isolates classical and contemporary buildings of their surroundings. They are mostly shown with a black background. The artist illuminates only the parts of her interest (Invisible Cities). Moreover she photographs landscapes (Clouds, New Mexico, Water, Mountains) and animals. Another series is dedicated to trees. Here again, the object stands alone; there is no environment in the image only a diffuse background, emphasising the atmosphere. These trees are often surrounded in black, reminding paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Could this be a glimpse to her beginnings as painter and portrait photographer?

Besides many solo and group exhibitions all around the world (inter alia Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, UK, USA, Argentina, China and Russia) Irene’s works were featured by international magazines like The New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Sette del Corriere della Sera and China Daily. Moreover she was selected at ParisPhoto 2010. For the EXPO 2015 the Contrasto Galleria invited her to a solo show at the Fruit and Legumes Cluster, where she presented 26 of her fruit trees. One of them is our artwork of the month of May 2016: “Melo in fiore” (Flowering Apple Tree). Actually her “Trees” are on show in Milan at the Contrasto Galleria (until 26th of July 2016). The exhibition is accompanied by the book “Trees” and a limited edition of 100 original signed prints.

Artwork of the month / May 2016