Opening: Friday, October 24, 6 - 8 pm
Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Karen Kilimnik, featuring recent
works. The American artist, who has been represented by Eva Presenhuber since 1995,
became known in the early nineties. Following major overview exhibitions at the ICA, Philadelphia
(2006), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (2008), the ARC in Paris (2006), and
the Serpentine Gallery in London (2007), she is currently preparing a promising show for Zurich,
the core of which will be an installation-based presentation of a ballet titled "Sleeping Beauty +
Friends", which she has helped choreograph, and which premiered at the New Players Theatre
in London in 2007. Also on view will be new oil paintings, drawings, and objects, carefully arranged
in a spatial situation that the artist will be creating specially for this Zurich show. This
setting, which can be entered through a classicist-like doorway, will be complemented by a
large series of photographic works.
With her obsessive oeuvre, Karen Kilimnik has been evoking a world saturated by seemingly
trivial desires and longings since her early years. The glamor of fashion serves just as much as a
means of projection as do TV series, the rainbow press, or the world of ballet: hovering students,
dying swans, or dead squirrels are suitable protagonists for her art, which is filled with
In her drawings, Karen Kilimnik combines beauties traced from magazines with
lifted quotations, and her own, sometimes quite caustic comments. Her oil paintings, by contrast,
appear rather traditional, except that they tell of a sense of tradition that the artist does
not derive from her reflection on the art of the past, but from the popularized repertoire of the
media industry. While producing her paintings, Karen Kilimnik appropriates seemingly romantic
landscapes, castles, and pedigree dogs. No less memorable are her sensitive photographs,
which show sceneries from Central Park, landscapes, or shop windows.
What makes them
sensational is the fact that they spot the media fantasies that characterize Karen Kilimnik's motifs
outside the realm of fiction, within a, as it seems, authentic reality. The American artist has
left her mark on art history both with her way of taking pictures and her succinct, obsessive
installations: She uses striking props and open-mindedly assembles finds, cheap decoration
material, and luxury furnishings to form powerful images.
The straightforwardness that Karen Kilimnik truly celebrates constitutes, up to this very day, the
breaking of a taboo. Her work is, in terms of formalness and content, a balancing act.
with which she has been pursuing her own path for years, however, is the most compelling
argument for acknowledging her approach as being far more profound than one was
tempted to believe at the beginning of her career. While her early work was interpreted as a
both disrespectful and trendsetting flirt with the morbidity of the zeitgeist, it is the exact opposite
that has come to the fore more recently: the utterly non-ironical seriousness with which Karen
Kilimnik holds on to her themes.