Changy to New York
In preparation for his move to New York, Kohn constructed a project meant to test his proposition that Art encodes the physical and cultural rhythms of the places from which it emerges.
To this effect, he started a new series in the house in Changy, located in the Berry region of France. These paintings were then moved to Paris, and then on to New York, where they were finished.
Shown in Bogota, Colombia in 1997, the work shows this evolution from primarily narrative, to enhanced formal structure which Kohn associates with the American experience.
From the Old World, where history is always present in every path, in every stone, the paintings then move to a continent built on (the myth of) boundless space.
Daniel Kohn's early work centered on a series depicting interiors of his family's house in the hamlet of "Changy", in the Berry region of France (Changy Interiors). Although representational in appearance, his work is investigative in nature, imbued with influences from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. From Europe it takes its concern with narrative and time, from America a preoccupation with space.
Daniel has always been concerned with the ways in which Art and Place (both physical and cultural) are linked. The work on the French house dealt not only with its physical appearance but also with the ways in which painting in the Occident has been tied into the history of Christianity.
As a Jew living in France, his early interiors also represent an attempt to portray the symbology of the Last Supper from a secular perspective. Of a painting from this series he wrote:
"This painting is part of a series begun in 1994. After a trip to Romania I started painting Last Supper images. Quickly this forced me to deal with the complexities of being an assimilated and secular Jew in a catholic country (France). After exploring this theme head on [in paintings for a catholic church], I moved to investigate what the secular expression of this theme could evoke, and started to explore the interior of a house which my family bought in the center of France in 1975, and which has become our family home away from home.
This series centers on the table, at first with figures, and later without. The table represents the center around which the life of the house breathes. Someone will get up early, have coffee at the table and leave. Someone else will come later and be joined by another. Perhaps they have a breakfast conversation. Upon leaving they leave the breakfast fixings on the table for other. In such a way the day winds on, from breakfast to lunch to dinner. The rhythm of the house is written at the table, and these paintings record these events."
As the day passes, the light shifts. Emptiness and silence are followed by the quiet noise of human interaction. A warm ray of sunlight hits the floor below the fireplace. We can hear the silence of our breath.
Changy to New York