© Kai Althoff

Das Fleisch seiner Knochen (The flesh of his bones), 2002
Private collection, Cologne

Kai Althoff
Kai Kein Respekt (Kai No Respect)

Kai Althoff has emerged as one of the most compelling figures in contemporary art today. Through a multi-faceted practice embracing visual arts, music, and writing, Althoff has created imaginative worlds of thematic complexity and emotional resonance. This exhibition, the first museum survey of the artist's work to date, introduces audiences to the full range of his art, including works on paper, photographs, paintings, installations, texts, and music.

Presenting his oeuvre in the United States for the first time, "Kai Althoff: Kai Kein Respekt" reveals the interrelatedness of each aspect of the artist's work and its overall coherence. The exhibition explores Althoff's distinctive and powerful model of creative practice, which is remarkable for both its formal articulation and conceptual sophistication. Althoff is best known in the United States for his extra-ordinarily delicate and evocative watercolors, his finely wrought pencil drawings, and his highly inventive collages, paintings and resin reliefs. This exhibition features a selection of the artist's most important two-dimensional works, in addition to the multi-media installations for which he is also well known in Europe.

Kai Althoff draws on a multitude of sources in his art, from Germanic folk traditions to 1970s popular culture and from medieval and gothic religious imagery to early modern expressionism. Althoff's works often evoke or invent narratives, where characters inhabit imaginary worlds that provide allegories of real human experience and emotion.

In this way, Althoff's work deals explicitly with powerful feelings, yet it is far from a naively romantic mode of expression. His work does not attempt to authenticate or impose a heroic self-expression, nor announce a new universal symbolism. Rather, Kai Althoff's work finds it strength and resonance in a choreography of multiple personae, seeing identity and emotion as fluid states in constant tension.

Kai Althoff was born in 1966 in Cologne, Germany, where he currently lives and works. He has had solo exhibitions at galleries in Berlin, Cologne, London, New York, Vienna and Hamburg. Althoff has also been featured in numerous international group exhibitions including the 1993 and 2003 Venice Biennales; "Chère Paintre, Liebe Maler, Dear Painter", at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2002), and "Drawing Now: 8 Propositions", at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2002).

"Kai Althoff: Kai Kein Respekt" is accompanied by afully illustrated catalogue designed in collaboration with the artist, and includes essays by leading German cultural critics, Diedrich Diederichsen and Olaf Karnik; Francesco Bonami, Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and exhibition curator, Nicholas Baume.

"Kai Althoff: Kai Kein Respekt" will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from September 23, 2004, to January 16, 2005.

Exhibition: May 26 - September 6, 2004
Opening Hours: Tue, Wed, Friday, noon - 5 pm
Thur, noon - 9 pm
Sat/Sun 11 am - 5 pm

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