Artist: Kiki Kogelnik
Venue: Musée des beaux-arts La Chaux-de-Fonds, La Chaux-de-Fonds
Exhibition Title: Cyborgs are irreverent
Date: February 23 – May 17, 2020
Curated By: David Lemaire, Marie Gaitzsch
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Musée des beaux-arts La Chaux-de-Fonds, La Chaux-de-Fonds
Les cyborgs ne sont pas respectueuses [Cyborgs are irreverent]
Kiki Kogelnik left her native Austria for New York in 1961. In changing continents, she also changed style. Her work became ever more colourful, moving on from abstraction to explore the body from various social, medical, and technological points of view. She brought a critical gaze to bear on the bodies shaped— or distorted—by the consumer society, to the point of losing their form and becoming empty, interchangeable vessels. Fashion images flatten out differences, neatly tidying bodies away in the city like a vast closet. What happens on the inside is just as worrisome: organs can be plucked out and replaced like spare parts, creating hybrid cyborg beings that are neither quite human nor machine. Bodies can be healed or dismantled, sent into space or smashed to smithereens by bombs: this is the ambivalence of progress.
Kiki Kogelnik’s status in the Pop Art scene was equally ambivalent: while she was widely acclaimed as a new avant-garde muse, her work never achieved significant sales. Only recently have art historians begun to re-evaluate the place of women in Pop Art, long seen as an almost exclusively male preserve. Kiki Kogelnik’s discreet yet steadfast feminism made her a marginal figure in the movement. The time has now come to acknowledge the importance of her pioneering work, which, while resolutely upbeat, nonetheless raises important questions.
Kiki Kogelnik was born in Bleiburg in 1935 and died in Vienna in 1997. The exhibition is curated in partnership with the Kiki Kogelnik Foundation, New York.