Silke Otto-Knapp


Silke Otto-Knapp, to all stages of the world
Structure for printed posters

Silke Otto-Knapp uses the painted surface as means of research, delving into subjects that pull from the history of live performance, including theatre and dance while also deeply engaging with the history of Western figurative and abstract painting. There is a smoothness to Otto-Knapp’s work that is built from a slow process of layering, which is both subtractive and additive. Subdued colour is added and removed creating a depth of field surrounding figures, objects and settings. Her work has often depicted the stage as both a sight of performance and an abstract field of objects, shapes and delineated spaces.

To all the stages of the world reconfigures two five-panel paintings into large scale digital wax prints with the potential to create an invariable number of compositions. The two paintings Schattentheater (Chalk circles) and Stage (after Kurt Schwitters) depict historical scenes from European dance and theatre, which use movement and geographic shapes as their basic aesthetic principles. Through painting these scenes, Otto-Knapp stills the performative moments in order to study and dissect them into only one of an infinite set of possibilities that is further articulated in her work for STAGES. In reproducing and recombining these paintings, Otto-Knapp sets the body and stage in variable motion by enabling millions of visible arrangements as the actions of the dancers depicted and adaptations of the stage sets are repositioned into a massive frieze.

Silke Otto-Knapp was born in Osnabrück, Germany in 1970. She earned a M.A. from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, and a degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Hildesheim, Germany. Otto-Knapp is a Professor in the Department of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles. Selected solo exhibitions include Bühnenbilder, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2017); Land Lies in Water, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015); Monday or Tuesday, Camden Arts Centre, London (2014); Cold Climate, Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2014); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2014); Fogo Island Arts, Canada (2014); Geography and Plays, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2013); A light in the moon / MATRIX 239, Berkeley Art Museum, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley (2011); Many many women, Kunstverein München, Munich (2010); Present time exercise, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford (2009); and 50ft Queenie, Tate Britain, London (2005). Otto-Knapp has been awarded the Fogo Island Arts Artist in Residence (2014, 2010-2012). Her work is included in the permanent collections of museum worldwide, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; among others. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Location: 400 Portage Ave.
Hours: 24 hours access
Additional information: Wheelchair accessible

Image Caption: Silke Otto-Knapp, to all the stages of the world 

Images by Karen Asher