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Kiki Kogelnik, Outer Space, 1964, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 1/16 x 54 1/8 x 1 3/4 in. (183 x 137.5 x 4.5 cm) © Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved

Kiki Kogelnik

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Kiki Kogelnik in her studio, New York, 1965, Photographer unknown, © Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved


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

Born in Austria in 1935, Kiki Kogelnik studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna before turning away from European Abstraction, eventually relocating to New York in the early 1960s and finding a community alongside artists including: Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol.

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 the evolving representations of women's bodies. Kogelnik's 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.

Kogelnik started creating work in the early 1950s—by the 60s, she focused on the human form and outlines of body parts and by the 70s, there was an explicit focus on the portrayal and representation of women and the female figure. In 1971, Kogelnik created a series of works titled, "Women's Lib." The work depicts the artist standing valiantly 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, flopped 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-1980s. Those years also found Kogelnik distilling simplified forms into a language of paintings, ceramic wall works, and drawings that riffed on feminism and politics. The work of this time was very much in conversation with the punk and new wave culture that sprung up around her SoHo studio. Kogelnik’s work occupied its own cultural space, intersecting with various movements but always defying categorization on a larger scale.

Kiki Kogelnik (1935 - 1997) was born in Austria and lived and worked between Vienna and New York. Recent solo museum shows include Kiki Kogelnik – Inner Life (Kunsthalle Stavanger, Norway); Kiki Kogelnik: Fly Me to the Moon (Modern Art Oxford, UK); and I Have Seen the Future (Hamburger Kunstverein, Hamburg). She was the subject of major retrospectives at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, Austria in 1998 and at Kunsthalle Krems, Austria in 2013.

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Kiki Kogelnik, Small Bomb for Alfonso, c. 1963, Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm)© Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Kiki Kogelnik, Womans Lib, 1971, Silkscreen on paper, 30 x 22 1/8 in. (76.1 x 56.5 cm)© Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Kiki Kogelnik, War Baby, 1972, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 49 x 73 in. (124.5 x 185.4 cm)© Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Kiki Kogelnik, Untitled (Robots), c. 1967, Acrylic, color pencil and ink on paper, 17 1/8 x 24 3/4 in. (43.8 x 62.9 cm)© Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Kiki Kogelnik, Claes, 1970, Sheet vinyl with chromed steel hanger, 56 3/8 x 22 1/2 x 1 3/4 in. (143.2 x 57.2 x 4.5 cm)© Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Kiki Kogelnik, I Talk Too Much, c. 1986, Glazed ceramic and wire on painted wood, 14 5/8 x 8 7/8 x 11 3/4 in. (37 x 20.2 x 30 cm)© Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved.