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Kai Althoff’s music projects, exhibitions and performances often find their starting point in collaborations. His paintings and drawings also address communities and group constellations and show people sitting together, talking to each other or do something together. A space installation consisting of six web workstations that invited use, was created in 2008 in cooperation with Travis Meinolf, who lives in San Francisco and works on the re-appropriation of textile production, at the Vancouver Art Gallery “The Weaving Place”. Materials and textiles play a big role in Althoff’s work. They evoke corporeality and materiality, as well as uncovering and the cover as a bearer of expression. Some of the figures in his image cosmos appear as though they have grown from this area of textiles.
The video “I will be last” in the Fürstenberg Contemporary Collection is based on a dance theatre performance shown by Althoff, together with Meinolf and others, on the opening day of the exhibition. The underlying story revolves around the harassment of a student about human relationships, the inherent dynamics and power structures. The performance was already a highly charged, ritualistic scenario, thus the video combines the various fabrics in the weaving as costume, as a stage and as visible, social threads to create a surreal form of expression for a fragile reality.
Althoff’s work constantly rotates around the screws of perception. It sometimes seems pedantically small, then grows thematically far beyond itself, incorporating the mythical and mystical in directly proximity to everyday things that seem hardly worth mentioning. This everyday, however, is out of whack in his paintings and drawings, sculptures, installations, performances and videos. Under apparently familiar shapes and surfaces, deformations are only half-veiled, resulting in an existentialist collision between inner desire and external order.