The Austrian-born artist Kiki Kogelnik (1935 Graz – 1997 Vienna) who spent the majority of her creative life in New York was ahead of her time. She once said that women should behave like samurai, and she herself adopted a combative approach to materials, colours and social issues. After initially working as an expressionist painter, she evolved into a Pop Art phenomenon, experimenting with collage and airbrush, and with new materials such as vinyl along with traditional ones such as ceramics. The time has now come for the first comprehensive retrospective in Switzerland to give this exceptional artist the space she deserves.
Why is Kiki Kogelnik’s work so relevant today? Perhaps the strongest argument is her visionary anticipation of issues that are more topical than ever: the achievements and excesses of the consumer society, the benefits and problems of technological progress as well as the omnipresent discourses on gender equity, medical ethics, digital transformation and sustainability.
With around 150 exhibits from four decades of artistic production, the presentation offers a complete overview of Kogelnik’s multifaceted work and reveals its art-historical importance. Kogelnik was a pioneer, as a journalist observed: ‘KIKI IS KICKS … NO QUESTION … HER PAINTING IS OF THE FUTURE. HER CLOTHES ARE UNIQUE […] Kiki may or may not become the girl of the year, but she undoubtedly is the girl of the future’ (Women’s Wear Daily, 1966).

The exhibition is a cooperation with the Kunstforum Wien.

Ill.: Kiki Kogelnik, Superserpent, 1974, Museum Ortner, Vienna, © 1974 Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All rights reserved