Biography

Austrian, American based visual artist.

In the 1960s, within a male-dominated arts scene, Austrian artist Kiki Kogelnik never ceased to question the body, aligning feminism with technology. Born in Bleiburg, Kiki Kogelnik studied art in Vienna between 1954 and 1958. She created abstract artworks alongside artists Maria Lassnig and Arnulf Rainer but felt somewhat out of phase with Abstract Expressionism. Notably following her acquaintance with Sam Francis, who advised her to move to the United States, she left in 1961 for Santa Monica and later, New York. There, she met some of the emblematic figures of American Pop Art: such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Claes Oldenburg. Kogelnik tended towards figuration and created paintings, drawings, and installations in a pop aesthetic: using bright, shimmering colours, new materials, and industrial techniques. America represented an opposing force to what Kogelnik had heretofore experienced in Austria, which was still economically depressed due to World War II.” . New York was the emblem of mass consumerism, which gave rise to new media of distribution, the fertile terrain of the pop art movement. Fascinated by this disembodied consumer society, she questioned the social, political, and intimate body, capturing the contours of human bodies. Using her own body or that of male or female friends, she traced their outlines onto various materials (plastic, packaging paper, cardboard) that she cut out and reused in her artworks. She notably produced a set of silhouettes cut out of pieces of coloured vinyl for the series Hangings that she began in the late 1960s. These profiles were then hung on hangers or drying racks in the manner of human carcasses. The bodies appeared stripped and emptied of all life, as though sagely awaiting resurrection.