LOOKING THROUGH KIKI'S EYES
The Future is Female
A TRIBUTE TO KIKI KOGELNIK
BY JONNY ZEROX
31st March - 18th June
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British Artist Jonny Zerox pays tribute to what he describes as “one of Austria’s best known secrets”:
the works and insights of Kiki Kogelnik.
Born in Graz in 1935, Kogelnik studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna and, after moving to America in 1963, she quickly assimilated into the New York art scene. Associating with the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann and Robert Rauschenberg, she went on to produce an impressive collection of visionary and provocative works of art. Kiki Kogelnik passed away in Vienna in1997 at the age of 62.
I am ashamed to admit that before 2020 I had never heard of Kiki Kogelnik. Her work has only been shown in the UK two or three times and, fortunately for me, I accidentally stumbled across a Welsh gallery showcasing some of her creations: my world was shaken up; the impact was profound.
As an artist I am addicted to Pop Art and the counter culture of the 1960s, a fascination that drove me to acquiring a now defunct Welsh Baptist chapel, situated in the former hometown of John Cale. Together with Lou Reed and two others, Cale founded “The Velvet Underground” – the legendary band famously discovered by Pop artist, Andy Warhol, in 1965.
The chapel is my attempt to recreate the ethos of Warhol’s famous New York studio, “The Factory“, often referred to as “The Silver Factory”; and I hope it will also serve as a celebration of Pop culture movements generally.
When asked about Kiki Kogelnik, Andy Warhol simply described her work as “Great”, emphasising this opinion by writing the word out 25 times.
Although Kogelnik herself seemed uncomfortable at being labelled a Pop Artist, she was nevertheless right in the thick of the counter culture movements of the 1960s and exposed all aspects of the times in her work. She addressed such issues as feminism, man’s race to the moon, the threat of nuclear war, equal rights, transhumanism and the excess of consumerism - which all became recurring themes throughout her work.
In 2021 I was invited to exhibit in Austria and I immediately seized the opportunity to draw from Kogelnik’s inspiration and produce a collection of work celebrating her life and legacy. I am eternally grateful to - and inspired by – Kiki, who, although no longer with us, I feel sure would be even more dynamic, colorful and outspoken if she were
I find her work both prophetic and visionary. Many issues that she addressed still exist today and we may be facing some difficult times ahead but, like her contemporary, Martin Luther King, I believe she too had been to the mountaintop, looked over and had seen the future. And that gives me hope
I invite you all to embrace this exhibition and take the opportunity to look through Kiki’s eyes
The future is female
Best Wishes, Zerox