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Kiki Kogelnik: Now Is The Time

After quite a substantial lunch, I needed to walk in the city. As I was crossing the Am Hof, I saw this impressive building with red flags hanging down on either side of the entrance; on them, written in white, was Kiki Kogelnik. I had no clue what it was, so I decided to go in and explore. It turned out this building house the Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. 

Kiki Kogelnik (1935-1997) was an Austrian artist known for her paintings, sculptures, and prints that explored themes of feminism, consumerism, and technology. Her work often featured bold colours and simplified forms, and she was known for her depictions of women in futuristic, space-age environments. She was a part of the pop art movement and was particularly interested in the representation of the female body in popular culture. Kogelnik studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In the 1960s, she moved to New York City and became associated with the pop art scene there.

The Kiki Kogelnik Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the work and legacy of the artist Kiki Kogelnik. The Foundation was established in 1997, three years before Kogelnik’s death, and is based in Vienna, Austria, where Kogelnik was born.

The Foundation’s mission is to provide access to Kogelnik’s artwork and to promote scholarship and research on her life and work. It maintains an archive of Kogelnik’s artwork, writings, and personal papers available to researchers and scholars. The Foundation also organizes exhibitions of Kogelnik’s work and participates in international art fairs and events.

In addition to promoting Kogelnik’s artwork, the Foundation also supports emerging artists through a residency program, which provides studio space and resources for artists to create new work.

Overall, the Kiki Kogelnik Foundation plays a vital role in preserving and promoting the legacy of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Its efforts ensure that Kogelnik’s work continues to be recognized and appreciated by future generations.

The work of Kiki Kogelnik remains relevant today for several reasons:

Feminism and representation: Kogelnik was a feminist artist who sought to challenge the representation of women in art and popular culture. Her work often depicted strong, empowered women who defied traditional gender roles. Today, the conversation around feminism and representation has become more critical, and Kogelnik’s work resonates with contemporary audiences.

Kiki Kogelnik was an artist who was deeply involved in the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She was known for depicting women in her artwork, which challenged traditional gender roles and beauty standards. Her work was often playful and colourful, but it also contained a strong message of empowerment for women.

Kogelnik advocated for women’s rights in her personal life and in her art. She was a Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) member and participated in feminist protests and demonstrations. She also supported other feminist artists, including Yoko Ono and Carolee Schneemann.

In addition to her activism, Kogelnik’s artwork was also a vehicle for feminist expression. Her series of prints and sculptures titled “Machine Drawings” featured simplified, abstracted forms of the female body, suggesting a merging of women and machines. Her paintings titled “The Space Series” depicted women in spacesuits or astronaut helmets, exploring the idea of the female body as a tool or device for space exploration. These works challenged traditional representations of the female body and suggested a new, empowered vision of femininity.

Overall, Kiki Kogelnik’s involvement in the feminist movement was an integral part of her art and her life. She used her creativity and her voice to push for gender equality and to challenge traditional gender roles and beauty standards.

Oil and acrylic on canvas
89 3/4 by 59 3/4 in. 228 by 151.8 cm.

On the other hand, Kogelnik’s work focused on  Technology and the human body: Kogelnik was interested in the impact of technology on the human body, particularly concerning space exploration. This theme is particularly relevant today as technological advances continue to transform our understanding of the body and how we interact with machines.

Kiki Kogelnik was interested in the relationship between man and machine, and this theme is evident in some of her artworks. She was particularly interested in the impact of technology on society and the human body. For example, her series of paintings titled “The Space Series” depicted women in spacesuits or astronaut helmets, exploring the idea of the female body as a tool or machine for space exploration. Overall, Kogelnik’s work often touched on themes of technology, futurism, and the human body with devices.

Kiki Kogelnik was associated with the pop art movement, which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s as a response to the rise of consumer culture and mass media. Pop art artists were interested in exploring the relationship between art and everyday life, and they often used images and objects from popular culture in their work. It is not surprising that her work focused on Pop art and consumer culture: Kogelnik was associated with the pop art movement, which critiqued consumer culture and mass media. Today, in the age of social media and advertising, this critique of consumer culture remains relevant, and Kogelnik’s work offers a unique perspective on these issues.

Bold colours, simplified forms, and playfulness characterized Kogelnik’s work. She often used imagery from consumer culture, such as lipstick tubes, high heels, and other fashion accessories, as well as images of the human body, especially women’s. Her work often depicted women in futuristic, space-age environments, suggesting a critique of the gender roles and beauty standards promoted by consumer culture.

In addition to her paintings and sculptures, Kogelnik also created prints and lithographs that featured images of everyday objects, such as kitchen appliances and tools. Her prints often used bright, contrasting colours and simplified forms, reflecting the influence of advertising and graphic design.

 Using imagery from popular culture and recontextualizing it in her art, Kogelnik challenged viewers to question the messages they receive from mass media and advertising.

Kiki Kogelnik’s work remains relevant today because it speaks to ongoing conversations around feminism, technology, and consumer culture. Her bold, colourful style and willingness to challenge traditional artistic conventions make her an important figure in the art world.

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