Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein created a prodigious body of work over a fifty-year period, starting in the late 1930s. His residence became an art environment, transformed by his unrelenting outpouring of expression. The artist identified himself primarily as a multidisciplinary creator, experimenting in photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture, as exemplified in this representative sample from the Museum’s collection. He composed reams of poetry on nature, love, war, and politics, and imaginary travels through time and space. On a kitchen tile, he engraved his various titles: “Freelance Artist—Poet and Sculptor—Innovator—Arrow maker and Plant man—Bone artifacts constructor—Photographer and Architect—Philosopher.”
Photography, his first consistent practice, began following his marriage to Eveline Kalke—whom he called Marie—in 1934 and continued until the 1950s. Fascinated by botany and science, he recorded his metaphysical theories regarding the origins of life, the universe, and genetically coded collective knowledge. A nonconformist, he painted with his fingers, fired clay pieces in his oven, made his brushes with human hair, transformed his bathroom into a darkroom to print his black-and-white photographs alluding to the pinup aesthetic, as well as recycled chicken bones for his complex assemblages like Gold Tower. This visionary architecture talks to Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s consistent fascination for the cosmic, celestial, and metaphysical.