Installation view, Karen Kilimnik, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Löwenbräu Areal, Zurich, 2013
Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Karen Kilimnik, featuring for the first time a major group of photography. 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), the Serpentine Gallery in London (2007), and a fantastic overview in 2012 at the Brant Foundation in Greenwich, CT she worked on the complete stage setting for Serge Lifar’s ballet “Psyché” at the Garnier Opera in Paris. For her show for Zurich, Karen Kilimnik concentrates for the first time mainly on her photographic oeuvre what became more and more important through the last years. Also on view will be new oil paintings and objects, carefully arranged in a spatial situation that the artist has created especially for this Zurich show.
With her oeuvre, Karen Kilimnik has been evoking a world saturated by seemingly trivial desires since her early years. The glamour 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, swans, or dead squirrels are suitable protagonists for her art, which is filled with girls' dreams. In her drawings, Karen Kilimnik combines beauties as you might find them in common fashion 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 a critical imagination and preoccupation of classical themes such as nature, proportions or optical illusions. While working on her paintings, Karen Kilimnik appropriates seemingly romantic landscapes, castles, and pedigree dogs. For the exhibition at Galerie Eva Presenhuber Karen Kilimnik will be showing a smaller group of new paintings within the unique setting of a wallpaper installation. This wallpaper installation was completely hand painted in a specialized wallpaper workshop including specific elements and motifs taken from Karen Kilimnik’s own world of painterly imagination.
This small world in its own is surrounded by a large group of over one hundred of her no less memorable photographs. The photographs show sceneries from Central Park, english landscapes, little snow piles, film and television stills or self created perfume and jewellery displays. 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 installations: She uses striking props and open-mindedly assembles finds, decorative material, and luxury furnishings to form powerful images.