I discovered Edmund Kurenia in 2014, on the occasion of the exhibition he held at Le Petit Canibaal (Minibar-Service, Valencia, 2014). Already then I had the sensation of being in front of a photography flaneur, an urban explorer, who far from wasting time, enjoyed - as Walter Benjamin would say - playing as an urban spectator, an amateur detective or a city investigator; or in a more poetic way, as Baudelaire would express, being a "botanist of the sidewalks."
In this case, the city and the sidewalks become hotel rooms. Kurenia reflects (armed with a Sony camera and good doses of critical awareness) the story behind those objects and who owns them. As he would say, it is a kind of "cognitive autopsy."
The images take the pulse, through a "mechanical eye" that supplants the creator, of a capitalist and consumerist society and reflects the identity of humanity. Also their fears and desires. Objects forgotten, abandoned, or simply left on the carpet of the floor, the table or the quilt until the hypothetical return of their owners. Small details that, with the eyes of the artist, become a testimony of an era and at the same time work of art.
Edmund Kurenia, for a moment, becomes the character of the story of Edgar Allan Poe A man from the crowd and pursues, out of curiosity - camera in hand -, each of the tenants of those 108 rooms. He becomes a fictional character and at the same time usurps the soul of Man Ray to design that kind of “Dadaist postcards” that give an idea of the artistic look of the photographer. It was Susan Sontag who, in her essay on photography, 1977, described the photographer as "a lone walker who explores, lurks, who crosses urban hell " A kind of "vouyerist walker ... Master of the joy of observing."
In this way, seeing the photographs of Edmund Kurenia, one has the sensation of having jumped the time barrier, of having gone back 100 years and being in front of the doors of the 291 Gallery with Alfred Stieglitz inviting you to take a “Walserian walk” to through its 108 rooms. A flaneur ride that suggests a deep review of the values of this decadent society. An invitation to reflection.
9 June 2019 / Valencia / Spain