Althoff works with a broad spectrum of media, from sculpture via installation, film and photography, up to performance, rock music, graphic prints and book design. Narrative elements shape his work. The themes of hisart are deeply rooted in the relationship of individuals to the conditions and formulations of their common lifestyle, outlook and rules of social life.
Kai Althoff works with a broad spectrum of media, from sculpture via installation, film and photography, up to performance, rock music, graphic prints and book design. Narrative elements shape his work. These appear – above all in his installations – as places where things happen, around which the artist’s entire work revolves, even when he steps forward with individual paintings and sculptures, the records and concerts of his groups: Ashley’s, Fanal or Workshop.
Kai Althoff’s works are all pervaded by a driven, intense and inescapable conflict between beauty and destruction, a conflict also visible in his paintings, which are impressive via their old-masterly skill, neo-romantic infusion and breathtaking compositional technique – ever in contrast with their sentimental as well as shocking content. Kai Althoff’s installations are proliferating cosmoses that wildly seduce the viewer, a seduction that can escalate up to physical aversion (often “reinforced” by odors, wasted materials or aesthetic shivers that the artist weaves into the seductive aesthetic surface of his works).
The themes of Kai Althoff’s art are deeply rooted in the relationship of individuals to the conditions and formulations of their common lifestyle, outlook and rules of social life. The aesthetics and the rituals of the artist’s youth in 1970s western Germany come through again and again as the thematization of the “physical, psychic or sexually connoted experiences of dominance, vulnerability and doubtful morals” (catalogue Berlin Biennial, 2006).
His works revolve around the youth clubs and dens of pubertal revolt, religiously veiled environments, fantastic, mythological and dreamlike scenarios. Meanwhile, as a utopian dimension, Althoff repeatedly holds out the prospect of mutual forms. He questions the formulations of our behavior as to their import regarding love, charity, trust and the possibilities of individual freedom. This finds its expression not least of all in his verbalized productions and the titles of his works, which almost always are comparable to an individual poetic language, if not even a secret code, and constantly pose the question as to the understanding and communication between the individual and society
Central to the Zurich exhibit is the work shown for the first time in Los Angeles in 2005: Solo for an Afflicted Trumpet, a collaboration with Lutz Braun. Along with this, the exhibition at Kunsthalle Zurich encompasses important installations of the artist from the past two years, which up to now have not been shown in Europe: paintings, drawings, installations from collections, as well as the newest works that have been conceived specifically for the rooms in Zurich. An exhibition catalogue will be published that compiles a fiction written by the artist under his own name or essays on his works under pseudonyms. Althoff, also on the pictorial level, merges fiction and reality and will put together an “invented” representational catalogue on the exhibition.
Opening november 9, 2007
Limmatstr. 270 - Zurich
Opening hours: Tue/Wed/Fri 12-6 pm, Thur 12-8 pm, Sat/Sun 11 am-5 pm, Mon closed