Automatic Drawing Susan Te Kahurangi King

Paris 2023/04/15 2023/05/14

Susan Te Kahurangi King (b.1951, Te Aroha, NZ) presents Automatic Drawing, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Paris, at Ruttkowski;68.

Susan Te Kahurangi King’s drawings have a beguiling formal intelligence. In early childhood, her powers of speech declined, then dried up entirely. She began drawing, compulsively, on scraps of paper that came to hand. Her drawings referred to things she saw and experienced – comic-book characters, animals, logos, landmarks, household items – they had a diaristic dimension. Many featured deranged, deconstructed, discombobulated figures. Later these would be compacted into hypnotic, psychedelic patterns.

In the 1980s, King’s drawings became more abstract. Cellular forms accumulated to suggest massive landscapes viewed from on high, or tiny ones glimpsed through a microscope. King continued to draw into the early 1990s, when she ceased completely. In 2008, she resumed her drawing practice, picking up exactly where she had left off almost twenty years earlier.

Since her first show, at Sydney’s Callan Park Gallery in 2009, King’s reputation has blossomed. She’s become a celebrated figure in both outsider-art and contemporary-art scenes, with shows across the world, rave reviews from the likes of Jerry Saltz, and works acquired by the Museum of Modern Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This exhibition features early works made by King between 1957 – when she turned six – and the late 1970s, showing the evolution of her unique and surprising art.

Artist information