Karin Kneffel is known for her paintings that are meticulous inquiries into various subjects. Her earliest series consists of frontal portraits of three hundred animals, and this series is in stark contrast to the latter gigantic still-life’s of fruit arrangements. The paintings of photorealistic fruits bear the first traces of the illusory layers Kneffel would develop. In her 2009 series which departs from architect Mies van Der Rohe’s Esters and Lange Houses in Krefeld, Karin Kneffel looks at historical black and white photographs of the houses to produce a novel relationship with them. While looking at these photographs, she envisioned when a glass was set in front of them, the interior became colorful with the falling light. The paintings thus inaugurated present the interiors through this imaginary window pane and a chain of reference emerges in the process. The pictorial plane of glass that Kneffel slides in, which becomes apparent mainly through reflections and other surface effects, is the means of distancing, the closing off of the viewer, the intermediation between the ambiguous layers of time that lie between what is represented and the period of the viewer. Kneffel highlights paintings’ unique ability for simultaneously upholding and destroying illusion.
Karin Kneffel (b. 1957, Marl) studied at Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf between 1981 and 1987. She currently teaches at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München. Her solo exhibitions are Museum Jean de La Fontaine, Château-Thierry (1999); Seduction and Distance, Ulmer Museum, Ulm (2006); Feuer, Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln, Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst und Musik, Cologne (2008); House on the Edge of Town, Kunstmuseen Krefeld (2009); Kunsthalle Tübingen (2010); Dirimart, İstanbul (2013); Window and Mirror, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Gas Natural Fenosa, La Coruña (2014); Mies von der Rohe pavilion, Barcelona (2014); Fallstudien, Prints, Käthe Kollwitz Museum, Cologne (2015); Bild im Bild, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2017); Museum Freider Burda, Baden-Baden (2019) ve Still, Kunsthalle Bremen (2019). Karin Kneffel lives and works in Düsseldorf.