Kiki Kogelnik

b. 1935, Austria
d. 1997

b. 1935, Graz, Austria
d. 1997, Vienna, Austria

Kiki Kogelnik is widely recognized for her striking compositions, flat graphic geometries, vibrant color palette, and depictions of the human form. Kogelnik studied at the Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna (1954) under sculptor Hans Knesl, before enrolling at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (1955–58) where she studied under painters Albert Paris Gütersloh and Herbert Boeckl.

By the time she graduated, she was working primarily in an abstract, gestural manner and experimenting with aspects of popular European movements like Tachisme and Art Informel.

Relocating to New York in the early 1960s, Kogelink found a community alongside artists such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Andy Warhol. Although historically associated with the Pop Art movement, she eschewed categorization, developing her own personal visual language. In an era shaped by the Space Race and Cold War, Kogelnik became fascinated with the uncertainties and possibilities of a new, technology-driven future and evolving representations of the female form. Her paintings and drawings depict a world of dismembered techno-bodies and mechanically enhanced avatars floating aimlessly in vibrant, pop-like compositions reminiscent of the bold shapes and color planes associated with modern advertising.

The following decade, Kogelnik’s oeuvre developed a direct focus on the portrayal and representation of women and the female figure. In 1971, she created a series of works titled Womans Lib, which focused on depictions of the artist in sunglasses, trench coat, and hat, standing assertively with a pair of enormous scissors in hand and her iconic cut-outs at her feet. The same era brought her Hanging series—vinyl silhouettes traced from the outlines of her friends, among them Lichtenstein and Oldenburg, draped over clothes hangers, a commentary on the fluidity of identity and the impermanence of the human body. Kogelnik returned to her hangings and to vinyl as a material until the late 80s.

Throughout her artistic career, Kogelnik lived and worked between Vienna and New York. Important solo museum exhibitions include Kiki Kogelnik and the Venetian Heads, Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design (1996); Kiki Kogelnik: Hangings, MAK - Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (1996); I Have Seen the Future, Hamburger Kunstverein, Hamburg (2012); Kiki Kogelnik: Fly Me to the Moon, Modern Art Oxford, United Kingdom (2015); Kiki Kogelnik – Inner Life, Kunsthalle Stavanger, Norway (2017); Kiki Kogelnik: Les cyborgs ne sont pas respectueuses, Musée des beaux-arts de La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland (2020); Kiki Kogelnik: A Study of Water, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach (2022); Kiki Kogelnik: This is Your Life. An Archival Account, Werner Berg Museum, Bleiburg, Austria (2021); Kiki Kogelnik: Now is the Time, Kunstmuseum Brandts, Odense, Denmark, which traveled to Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (2023–24). She was the subject of major retrospectives at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna in 1998 and at Kunsthalle Krems, Austria in 2013.



Kiki Kogelnik: The Dance

24 May-2 Aug 2024