Covering the Body
Adrian Kiss and the poetics of form
By Kate Mothes
Suspended from steel frames that resemble swing sets, a series of blankets ripple in the breeze of a meadow within view of Budapest’s Three Border Mountain. Approximately the same dimensions, they vary in color and material, each one uniquely interacting with the sun and shadows that dapple across the quilted textures. Budapest-based Romanian artist Adrian Kiss’ most recent exhibition with acb Gallery explores the artist’s fascination with the ubiquitous object, pulling it from the context of its practical function to reimagine a bodily form.
Dunyha translates literally from Hungarian to English as “eiderdown,” traditionally a comforter or duvet filled with eider duck down. Quilted and often covered in decorative fabric, the duvet is a bedroom essential to which we hardly give much thought unless it’s too hot or too cold. We match it to our decor and wrap it around us for hours; what is it if not a protective cover for the body as it surrenders to an unknown realm every night?
Kiss’ pieces are made from a variety of materials, including leather, artificial leather, canvas, concrete, wood, and ceramics. The edges are often grommeted, creating a tarpaulin or sail-like effect when tethered to frameworks or the ground. Quilted patterns across the surface are rendered in flesh-like colors or bold contrasts in a masculine, sensual suggestions of abstracted musculature.
The exhibition took place in two separate locations, one inside a former telecommunication company’s engine room located in a brutalist building, and one outdoors in a vast natural expanse, examining the body’s relationship to space and the nature of the blankets as both barriers and portals to the space they sit within.
Header image: Installation view, Adrian Kiss, Dunyha Tomorrow, acb Gallery, May 2022.
All images © Adrian Kiss, courtesy of the artist and acb Gallery