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Mark McKnight

Hunger for the Absolute

February 26 - April 3, 2021

Earth you know is round but seems flat

You can’t trust
Your senses.

You thought you had seen every variety of creature
but not

this creature.

When I met him, I knew I had

weaned myself from God, not
hunger for the absolute. O unquenched

mouth, tonguing what is and what must
Remain inapprehensible —

Saying You are not finite. You are not finite.

– Frank Bidart “Hunger for the Absolute”

Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is pleased to announce Hunger for the Absolute, the gallery’s second exhibition by Los Angeles-based photographer Mark McKnight. The exhibition comprises new gelatin silver prints hung in both rooms of the gallery, and will run from February 26 through April 3.

McKnight’s black-and-white photographs radically expand the boundaries of Modernist photography which privileged a singular, objective gaze. McKnight’s landscape is deeply personal. It reflects his youth spent in Southern California, where fecund fields of wildflowers and vast skyscapes provide an otherworldly environment that is sexually, psychologically, and subjectively charged.

McKnight populates this high-desert setting with two friends from within his community who become players in a fantastical drama. These queer, Brown, fleshy protagonists are both stand-ins for the the artist and self-determined subjects in their own right. Through sexual encounter, they demonstrate their own authority and agency, inadvertently upending Modernism’s obsession with “the heroic” and the objective. These figures are terrestrially bound: by gravity and the landscape in which they find themselves, enmeshed in a copulative dance that suggests a striving for the transcendent.

Hunger for the Absolute is divided into two rooms; the main gallery presents a selection of works from McKnight’s recent debut monograph “Heaven is a Prison” (Loose Joints, 2020). These photographs are grouped and hung in poetic stanzas which demonstrate a relationship to time and imaginative space. The front gallery emphasizes the cinematic proclivities of the photographic medium, with a series of images shown on three walls that allow a sweeping view of a singular erotic exchange.

MARK McKNIGHT (b. 1984, USA) currently lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited at Aperture Foundation, New York City; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson; California Museum of Photography; Riverside Art Museum; Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Charlie James Gallery, Roberts & Tilton Gallery, M+B Gallery, Luisotti Gallery, and The Pit Gallery, all in Los Angeles; James Harris Gallery, Seattle; Koppe Astner, Glasgow; and Park View / Paul Soto, Los Angeles, which is staging a concurrent exhibition of McKnight’s work. His photographs are in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. McKnight’s first monograph, Heaven is a Prison, was published by Loose Joints in September 2020, with support from the Light Work Photobook Award.

Captured and Released: Mark McKnight

Mousse Magazine publishes a fully illustrated feature with text by Andrew Berardini in the Spring 2021 issue.

Liberating the Taxonomic

Steven Warwick reviewed Hunger for the Absolute, Mark McKnights solo show at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery and Park View / Paul Soto in the March 2020 issue of Bomb Magazine

Mark McKnight: Hunger for the Absolute

Zach Ritter reviews Mark McKnight's solo show at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, in the Brooklyn Rail, March 2021 issue.


Mark Armijo McKnight at MOCA Tucson

Mark Armijo McKnight is showed a new series of large-format cyanotypes as a part of "Working From Home: New Commissions From Tucson", curated by Laura Copelin, at The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson. The ran from October 4th through March 21, 2021.


Mark Armijo McKnight in conversation with Garth Greenwell at Aperture

Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, presented a conversation between acclaimed writer Garth Greenwell and photographer Mark Armijo McKnight, winner of the 2019 Aperture Portfolio Prize. Greenwell and McKnight spoke about the mystery and beauty of rendering queer life in words and photographs.


Mark McKnight works were acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through the museum's LENS Contemporary Photography Committee