THE CRAZY WORLD OF
ARTIST AND ROCK POET
The Kunsthaus is now presenting a solo exhibition of works by Kevin
Coyne (1944––2004), who died in Nuremberg in 2004, and thus
introducing visitors to the remarkably versatile œuvre of an artist who
dedicated his life to music, art and literature.
Born in Derby, England in 1944, Coyne attended the Joseph Wright
Secondary School of Art in Derby from 1957 and studied at Derby
College of Art from 1961 to 1965. In the following years he began an
international career as a musician. As from 1973 he was under contract
with Virgin records for seven years successfully, and played regular tours
in Europe and overseas. From 1979 onwards, his career as a musician
was overshadowed by a personal life crisis attended by depression
and alcoholism. In the course of this situation, he moved to Nuremberg
in 1983, where he succeeded in overcoming the crisis.
The exhibition reveals that the musician was also active as a visual
artist throughout his life, showing paintings and works on paper ranging
from Coyne’s initial years at the art academy to drawings produced
shortly before his death.
Coyne’s experiences with the mentally ill and drug addicts,
whom he encountered in the 1960s as a social worker and art therapist,
first at Whittingham Hospital in Lancashire and later in a housing
project in London, allowed him to sharpen his awareness of society’s
outsiders. In order to capture the heart of what he had experienced
in his paintings, Coyne used a direct and immediate visual language
oriented stylistically on Bad Painting and Art Brut. “The world is
full of fools” is the title of a song from 1979, and it describes Coyne’s
interest in issues on society’s periphery as well as the craziness of what
can be perceived every day. Both served him as a source of artistic
inspiration throughout his life. The protagonists of his humorous,
narrative images touch upon every facet of human interaction, moving
between childishly naïve carefreeness and twisted, evil power games.
They lead “the eternal battle between light and dark, where in the
end the ridiculous always triumphs.” (Coyne 2001)
For the first time, the exhibition provides a comprehensive insight
into the artist’s legacy, supplemented by loans from private and
municipal collections. It makes connections between Coyne’s pictorial
and musical work and allows us to rediscover an artist who was
honoured with the “Großer Kulturpreis der Stadt Nürnberg” in 1992,
but has been denied further-reaching recognition to this day.
To accompany the exhibition, the book “The Crazy World of Kevin
Coyne” will be published , edited by Steffen Radlmaier in colaboration
with Michael Bader (KunstKulturQuartier, Nuremberg) and Manfred
Rothenberger (Institut für moderne Kunst Nuremberg) by publisher
starfruit publications, Fürth, ca 384 pages, ca 200 photos/illustrations
and texts by Steffen Radlmaier, Karl Bruckmaier, Fitzgerald Kusz, Christian
Mückl, Susann Scholl, and Kevin Coyne, ISBN 978-3-922895-40-4, € 28,–.
THE CRAZY WORLD OF