The Past is a Foreign Country


Polystyrene foam, aluminium, acrylic resin, acrylic, plywood, plastic, fabric

216 x 150 x 150 cm (85 1/16 x 59 1/16 x 59 1/16 in.)

A sculpted life-size figure, whose colourful tropical short-sleeved shirt and bare feet evoke summer holidays, has his head imprisoned in a glass ball. Inside the tacky globe, reminiscent of a snow globe, there is a wintery scene with snow-covered pine trees.

Specially commissioned for the "Le Monde vous appartient" (“The World Belongs to You”) exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi in 2011, Friedrich Kunath creates a poetic autobiographical work. The artist moved to Los Angeles in 2008; The Past references his childhood in Germany. The hermetic snow globe represents the heavy memory he carries with him everywhere, but never really wants to look at, confining it to a feeling of loneliness. Kunath reflects here the promise that Los Angeles, evoked by the tropical shirt, represented for generations of emigrants that the city simultaneously attracts and disappoints.

Friedrich Kunath’s work in the Pinault Collection was first presented at the Palazzo Grassi at the "Le Monde vous appartient" (“The World Belongs to You”) exhibition (2011-2012).

Friedrich Kunath's other artwork