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 Kiki Kogelnik  (1935 - 1997)

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Lived/Active: New York / Austria/France      Known for: modernist sculpture, abstract paintings

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Woman with Artificial heart
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Kiki Kogelnik was born in 1935 in Bleiburg, a small city in the state of Carinthia in Austria. After her studies at the Fine Arts Academy of Vienna, she moved to Paris in 1959 and later to New York in 1961. Since the mid-1950s, she has been part of a group of avant-garde artists who gravitated around the figure of Otto Mauer. 

Her early works were abstract but later her style was characterized by a re-discovery of the human figure and the use of very brilliant colors, displaying the strong influence of Pop Art on her work.  In addition to large-size pictorial works, Kiki Kogelnik created a powerful group of installations and sculptures in ceramics and in glass.

In particular, she began to experiment with the use of Murano glass in 1994, and created the highly regarded “Venetian Heads”. 

Kiki Kogelnik started from the assumption that contemporary art has an artificial nature, the result of the great changes that profoundly modified man’s condition in the 20th century.  The loss of traditions and values and the increasingly oppressive domination of technology and mechanical processes have impoverished humanity and alienated individuals.  In this sense, and with these thoughts, today’s art must express all this and, specifically, our artificiality.  

Society’s new idols are unmasked by artists who unveil these anemic and inexpressive faces, which are far from real life.  Through her works, Kogelnick depicts our time with a bitter irony and forces the observer to confront this reality. 

Kiki Kogelnik died in 1997 in Vienna after having reached great fame and recognition in the world of art.

Source:
Berengo Fine Arts, www.berengo.com

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A student at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, Kiki Kogelnik moved to Paris in 1959 and New York in 1961.  Her painting style was characterized by bright colors and silhouetted figures and was strongly influenced by Pop Art.  Later she began using cutout vinyl and fiberglass.

In 1994, she worked in Murano, Italy and made much admired glass pieces described as "punk-chic." In 1965, at the Austrian Institute, she had her first show. She frequently exhibited in Vienna. With her husband, Dr George Schwarz, she developed art-deco Manhattan restaurants including Elephant, Castle, and One Fifth Avenue, frequented by artists.

Source:
Art in America, March 1997

Biography from GallArt.com:
Kiki Kogelnik, Austrian (1935 - 1997)

Kiki Kogelnik an Austrian by birth and training lived in the United States for many years. She is exhibited widely in Europe and the U.S.

Her early work was primarily abstract, but soon evolved into cut out figure forms in space age settings and clothing. These early interests continue to appear in the present figure paintings of women. "Fashion imagery relates directly to our fantasy expectations of the world... expectations which are never met in real life where people are not perfectly attired, posed, cool, aloof and elegant," says Ms. Kogelnik.

Moving to Paris in 1959 and to New York in 1961, she worked in a mode that combined aspects of European figuration and American Pop Art with an increasing feminist consciousness. Sometimes her style mimicked fashion illustration to comment on society's depiction of women.

In 1966, Ms. Kogelnik married George Schwarz, a radiation oncologist at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. He eventually owned several New York restaurants, which she helped design. Among them were today's Elephant and Castle in Greenwich Village, the NoHo Star and the Temple Bar on Lafayette Street, and Keen's Chop House on West 36th Street.

In 1967, Kiki declared that contemporary art comes from the artificial. The human condition has undergone fundamental changes in this century. Traditional values and assumptions have been attacked and upset and not been replaced. Our congenial view of life and security in nature has shattered. The ever-increasing domination of technology and mechanical processes in our civilization have reduced our humanity and alienated us from our natural environment. Hence, the appropriateness of Kiki's feeling that contemporary art cornes from the artificial.

As she once portrayed herself with a gigantic scissor, Kogelnik tailors a life to size for us. The idols of society drop their masks, displaying anemic faces, their bloodless beauty and disassociation with the real world. Behind all this stands the artist with a knowing and sorttewhat melancholic smile, fully engaged, holding up a mirror to the face of our time.

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