Kai Althoff

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Kai Althoff
Born February 1966
Nationality German
Style multimedia art

Kai Althoff (born 1966 in Cologne) is a German visual artist and musician.

Life and work[edit]

Kai Althoff was born in Cologne, Germany in February 1966. He is a multimedia artist and a painter. Borrowing from moments of history, religious iconography, and counter-cultural movements, Althoff creates imaginary environments in which paintings, sculpture, drawing, video, and found objects commingle.[1] Tapping a multitude of sources, from Germanic folk traditions to recent popular culture, from medieval and gothic religious imagery to early modern expressionism, Althoff’s characters inhabit imaginary worlds that serve as allegories for human experience and emotion.[2] Not only does he work from a past contents and context wise, his image bank and painterly style are equally derived from early 20th century German Expressionism and are reconfigured within a contemporary style by introducing collaged technique into his creations.[3]

Much of Althoff's work is collaborative. For the 4th Berlin Biennale, Althoff and Lutz Braun created the site-specific installation Kolten Flynn, made up of three vitrines that are draped in red foil and full of a child’s paintings, drawings, pens and other abandoned materials.[4] Along with Yair Oelbaum, he conceived the dramatic play There we will be buried (2010), which debuted in 2011 at the Dixon Studio in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England. For their U.S.-premiere performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the pair performed the show’s main characters, Orpah and Lydia, two single mothers who are searching for a lost daughter.[5] In Die Kleine Bushaltestelle (Gerüstbau) (Little Bus Stop [Scaffolding], 2012) Althoff performed alongside fellow artist Isa Genzken in a seventy-minute absurdist comedy, shot on home video.[6]

His work has been included in several books listing contemporary artists, such as Art Now, published by Taschen.

Althoff is also a musician, releasing solo under monikers such as Fanal, Engelhardt/Seef/Davis Coop. or Ashley's as well as in different groups. With Justus Köhncke he releases as Subtle Tease. Together with Christoph Rath, Stefan Mohr and Stephan Abry he co-founded the band Workshop.[7]


Althoff has been the subject of solo exhibitions worldwide, including at the Vancouver Art Gallery; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Kunsthalle Zürich; and Simultanhalle, Cologne.[8] He has also shown work in group exhibitions including the 2004 Venice Biennale, Drawing Now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Chère Paintre, Liebe Maler, Dear Painter at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, A Perilous Space at Magnani in London and Kaiki at Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea.

He is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York, Christian Nagel in Cologne and Galerie NEU in Berlin.


  • 2008: Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International[9]


External links[edit]