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Biography

b. January 22, 1935, Southern Austria
d. February 1, 1997, Vienna, Austria

Kiki Kogelnik transcended the movements of European abstract modernism and American Pop art to create a unique, forward-looking oeuvre that addressed new technologies and feminism. Incorporating a variety of often synthetic materials, irony and humor, her paintings and sculptural work typically took their point of departure in the human body, presenting it as variously ebullient, stylized, interchangeable, fragmentary or skeletal. 

Born in Austria in 1935, Kogelnik studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Art before traveling widely in London, Rome and Paris, where she became closely involved with a group of American artists including Joan Mitchell and Sam Francis. Following her move to New York in the early 1960s, she abandoned her abstract expressionist style in favor of paintings and assemblages directly inspired by recent advances in robotics and space travel. Working alongside a group of artists loosely associated with the Pop art movement—Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were among her friends—Kogelnik became widely known for her series of Hangings, in which silhouettes of friends were cut out and hung on hangers and rails, or stenciled onto canvas as hollow skin. Later works increasingly addressed fashion and the way women were portrayed in advertisements.

All images © Kiki Kogelnik Foundation.