Previews

  • Kai Althoff, Untitled, 2017, oil, oil crayon, ink, gouache, and metallic pigment on paper, 23 1/4 × 16 1/2".

    Kai Althoff, Untitled, 2017, oil, oil crayon, ink, gouache, and metallic pigment on paper, 23 1/4 × 16 1/2".

    “Kai Althoff Goes with Bernard Leach”

    Whitechapel Gallery
    77 - 82 Whitechapel High Street
    October 7, 2020–January 10, 2021

    Curated by Iwona Blazwick with Emily Butler and Cameron Foote

    Kai Althoff’s practice is known for its elaboration of a bohemian attitude colored by a hermetic sense of withholding and guileless naïveté. The first UK survey of this New York– and Cologne–based artist’s work will showcase three immersive environments modeled after paintings, objects, textiles, and photographs dating from his early childhood to the present. In addition to the 130 pieces by Althoff, the exhibition will include some thirty ceramics by the British potter Bernard Leach (1887–1979). A promoter of pottery as a channel linking East and West, the inclusion of Leach highlights Althoff’s recalibration of his own interest in the longue durée of queer representation: After previously invoking the otherness of nineteenth-century Germanic homosocial life, his more recent work has flirted with Edo-period court paintings, shan shui landscapes, and Siyah Qalam iconography. Althoff, having mastered ambiguity as his medium, stages these provocative transgressions of time and space by folding irony into sincerity.