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Published 2014 by Edition Patrick Frey.
252 pages.

After Drawings (1997), Paintings (2001) and Kirschgarten (2005), Photographs is the fourth artist’s book by the Philadelphiaborn and based Karen Kilimnik (b.1955) to be published by Edition Patrick Frey. It brings together the sporadically exhibited and by and large unknown photographic works of the artist, who gained fame in the 1980s with her “scatter art” installations and later with her paintings.
Karen Kilimnik takes pictures with the same gesture she paints with: an unerring sense of the glut of shiny surface beauty, under which lurk the shades of monstrous things unseen and unspoken. She takes pictures with a shrewd, informed eye. She adores kitsch, but she knows how phony it is and how much this phoniness makes it irresistible. She is a wise old soul but she’s absolutely determined to preserve the innocence and vulnerability of a young and restless mind. In Bourdieu’s words, her photography strikes a perfect balance between the “ritual” and the “artistic.” Kilimnik takes pictures of what she unconditionally loves, and this love is eclectic and deeply darkly romantic. She photographs idylls ad nauseam: the rolling hills of the Cotswolds in south central England, so leafy they almost seem unreal; a ladies’ bicycle, hedge-lined streets, sheep in the shadow of a tree, cows in the morning mist, a squirrel that seems to be nibbling on a flower, sitting ducks on the banks of a stream. Kilimnik views profane reality through the mercilessly wide-open eyes of her camera lens, transforming it in her photographs into a stage for her fabulously dreamy / nightmarish fairytale figurations and arrangements. When reality does not suffice, she embellishes it, trimming the trees in the garden, for example, with glass Christmas ornaments or with fairy lights.