Sonja Alhäuser was born in Kirchen (Westerwald), Germany in 1969, studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie (State Art Academy) in Düsseldorf, becoming "Meisterschülerin" (Master Disciple) of Fritz Schwegler in 1995. From 2002 to 2005 she taught drawing at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and from 2007 to 2009 painting at the Braunschweig Academy. She has received a large number of awards, like the “Peter-Mertes-Scholarship” of the “Bonn Kunstverein” in 1997, the “Förderpreis der Stadt Düsseldorf” in 2000 and the “Dorothea-Erxleben-Scholarship” of the Federal State of Lower Saxony, 2007-2009. She now lives and works in Berlin and is represented by Michael Schultz Gallery.
Her work in different media is, for a large part, characterized by the fascination of the transitory, both in materials used and in the nature of her performances and installations. She has made banquet installations of edible materials and she also shaped sculptures out of butter, chocolate and kindred food. The ephemeral character of the installations does not only point at the transitoriness of life but also sets her work in the context of venerable traditions: for instance Joseph Beuys who likewise employed transitory materials (like fat and honey) whilst the banquet as an artistic subject reaches from Petronius Arbiter's “Cena Trimalchionis” to paintings of kings' banquets (where one felt honoured to be invited to watch the nobility feasting) and finally the Last Supper. She also casts sculptures in German Silver and makes large wall drawings. Furthermore she works in traditional media like watercolours, acrylic and crayon by means of which she is creating distributive, all-over-like compositions of animals, fruits, vegetables, clothing, body parts, and mythological figures. Thus her oeuvre is considered a contribution to the discourse on environmental ethics.
- Sonja Alhäuser, Kunst in Schokolade, Gesellschaft für moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig, Imhoff-Stollwerck-Museum (edd.), Cologne 2005
- Sonja Alhäuser, Immerzu, Cologne 2007
- Sonja Alhäuser, Hartgesotten, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst / Kunstverein Ulm 2010
- Sonja Alhäuser, fundamentales Vielleicht, Galerie Michael Schultz, Berlin 2010
- Sonja Alhäuser, Maximelange, Galerie Michael Schultz, Berlin 2013
- Cfr. her entry on artfacts.net
- Cfr. Herbert Köhler: Sonja Alhäuser, in: Kritisches Lexikon der Gegenwartskunst, 88/22 (2009).
- Cfr. UChicagoNews interview on Alhäuser's “Flying Buffet”, March 30, 2012.
- Cfr. portrait-review by Goethe-Instut Brazil, September 2011; Eat Art: Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Sonja Alhäuser, Catalogue, Busch Reisinger Museum, Cambridge (Mass.) 2001; and William V. Ganis, Eat Art: Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Sonja Alhäuser, in: contemporary 35 (2001).
- Cfr. exhibition review by Anna Winestein in Philosophy now 2002; and Sonja Alhäuser: Kunst geniessen! in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 10, 2011.
- Cfr. Sonja Alhäuser in worldcat.