Anne Imhof

Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

 

Anne Imhof (*1978) has emerged over the past decade as one of the most acclaimed artists of her generation. Today based between Berlin and New York, Imhof spent her formative years in Frankfurt am Main, where she taught herself to draw and make music while working as a bouncer at a local night club. Before eventually enrolling at the city’s academy of fine arts, Städelschule, she staged what she later designated the first entry to her catalogue raisonné: a one-night only performance in a red light district bar. She invited two boxers to take part and recruited a band. The boxers were told that the fight should last for as long as the music was playing, while the band were instructed to play for as long as the boxers were fighting. Imhof explained: “It was all pretty red—the table dance bar and the noses. Looking back on it I realized that it had been one way to create a picture.”

 

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Imhof’s practice has since evolved to encompass performance and choreography, painting and drawing, music, installation and sculpture. While her work is inherently multifaceted and continues to expand into ever more media, such as, most recently, film, Imhof conceives her art-making from the vantage point of painting. Her poignant abstractions, whether composed as performance, as two-dimensional images, or in the form of sculpted and found objects, are distinguished by her mastery of perspective and framing. This approach also manifests in her treatment of bodies as gestural surfaces, the positioning and posture of her figures, as well as her distinct symbolism and use of color. Imhof is a maker of pictures, whose images, moving or stilled, point to the history of painting as much as to the fetishes of contemporary commodity culture.

Imhof’s performances, correspondingly, have been described as tableaux vivants. When their liveness fades away, her pictures turn natures mortes and reveal marks of a vampiristic melancholy that accompanies the artist’s undeadening procedures of transforming life into image and vice versa. In this, she is joined by a community of friends, dancers, artists, musicians, poets, and models, who cohabitate alongside the audience within her epic durational installations and animate them through their movement, singing, and ghostly presence of studied passivity. Though following a notated score, the dark play of their ritualistic actions—frequently involving bodies walking in slow motion, spilling fluids, falling, carrying each other or hanging out—is ruled by the contingencies of collaboration and directed by the artist in real time.

Imhof imbues bodies and things with excessive libidinal charge, choreographing figures and staging objects to render intimate portraits of radical dis-identification. Ephemeral, yet violent longings are distributed through avatars of the artist’s self, particularly Eliza Douglas, her artistic partner and muse. Douglas first took center stage in Imhof’s Faust (2017) at the German pavilion during the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. Imhof’s artistic project, crystallizing in a unique repertoire of imaginative intensities that reshape in open-ended serial iterations, has to date further notably included the exhibition and performance cycles Rage (2014–15), Deal (2015), Angst (2016), and Sex (2019–21).

 

Anne Imhof
FAUST, 2017
German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

 

Works
Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Sex, 2021

Anne Imhof
Sex, 2021
HD film, color, with sound
193 min

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Sex, installation view, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, 2021

Anne Imhof
Sex, installation view, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli – Torino, March 20–November 7, 2021

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Stine Omar, Lea Welsch, Ian Edmonds, Mickey Mahar and Billy Bultheel in Faust, 2017

Anne Imhof
Stine Omar, Lea Welsch, Ian Edmonds, Mickey Mahar and Billy Bultheel in Faust, 2017
German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Sex, 2021

Anne Imhof
Sex, 2021
HD film, color, with sound
193 min

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Untitled (Waves), 2021
Featuring Eliza Douglas

Anne Imhof
Untitled (Waves), 2021
Featuring Eliza Douglas
HD Video, color, with sound
30:19 min

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Untitled (Waves), 2021
Featuring Eliza Douglas

Anne Imhof
Untitled (Waves)
, 2021
Featuring Eliza Douglas
HD Video, color, with sound
30:19 min

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Sex, installation view, Tate Modern, 2019

Anne Imhof
Sex, installation view, Tate Modern, London, March 22–March 31, 2019
Photo: Brotheron-Lock

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Eliza Douglas, Franziska Aigner, Stine Omar, Lea Welsch and Theresa Patzschke in Faust, 2017

Anne Imhof
Eliza Douglas, Franziska Aigner, Stine Omar, Lea Welsch and Theresa Patzschke in Faust, 2017
German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2017
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Faust, installation view, La Biennale di Venezia, 2017

Anne Imhof
Faust, installation view, German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venetia, 2017
Photo: Ugo Carmeni

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Angst, installation view, Kunsthalle Basel, 2016

Anne Imhof
Angst, installation view, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel June 10–August 21, 2016
Photo: Philipp Hänger

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Josh Johnson, Nomi Ruiz and Mickey Mahar in Sex, 2019

Anne Imhof
Josh Johnson, Nomi Ruiz and Mickey Mahar in Sex, 2019
Tate Modern, London
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof
Anne Imhof
Jakob Eilinghoff, Oscar Joyce and Ian Edmonds in Sex, 2019

Anne Imhof
Jakob Eilinghoff, Oscar Joyce and Ian Edmonds in Sex, 2019
Tate Modern, London
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Details
Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Sex, 2021
HD film, color, with sound
193 min

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Sex, installation view, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli – Torino, March 20–November 7, 2021

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Stine Omar, Lea Welsch, Ian Edmonds, Mickey Mahar and Billy Bultheel in Faust, 2017
German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Sex, 2021
HD film, color, with sound
193 min

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Untitled (Waves), 2021
Featuring Eliza Douglas
HD Video, color, with sound
30:19 min

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Untitled (Waves)
, 2021
Featuring Eliza Douglas
HD Video, color, with sound
30:19 min

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Sex, installation view, Tate Modern, London, March 22–March 31, 2019
Photo: Brotheron-Lock

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Eliza Douglas, Franziska Aigner, Stine Omar, Lea Welsch and Theresa Patzschke in Faust, 2017
German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2017
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Faust, installation view, German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venetia, 2017
Photo: Ugo Carmeni

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Angst, installation view, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel June 10–August 21, 2016
Photo: Philipp Hänger

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Josh Johnson, Nomi Ruiz and Mickey Mahar in Sex, 2019
Tate Modern, London
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof
Jakob Eilinghoff, Oscar Joyce and Ian Edmonds in Sex, 2019
Tate Modern, London
Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Details
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Current and Upcoming
Anne Imhof
Eliza Douglas in rehearsals for Anne Imhof, Natures Mortes, 2021
Courtesy of the artist and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof
"Natures mortes" Carte blanche à Anne Imhof
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
Through October 24, 2021

Palais de Tokyo invited Anne Imhof to realize an exhibition occupying all its spaces in the spring of 2021. This project continues a series of Cartes Blanches, beginning with Philippe Parreno in 2013 and followed by Tino Sehgal (2016), Camille Henrot (2017) and Tomàs Saraceno (2018) thereafter. Anne Imhof, whose international recognition includes the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2017, has exhibited at Palais de Tokyo as early as 2015 with DEAL, presented as part of the festival Do Disturb.

Link
Press

Anne Imhof’s Unnerving Hall of Mirrors
The New York Times, interview by Coco Romack, June 2, 2021

Der Tod im Subtext
Monopol, article by Silke Hohmann, June 2021

Anne Imhof in Three Acts, an Improvisation:
Flash Art, vol54, no 334, article by Benjamin Piekut, Spring 2021

Anne Imhof & Eliza Douglas
Kaleidoscope, pp. cover, 110–128, interview by Bill Kouligas, Fall/Winter 2019/2020

Turning Tides: Anne Imhof at Tate Modern
Spike, Online, article by Ella Plevin, March 25, 2019

Biography

Anne Imhof (*1978, Gießen) lives and works in Berlin and New York. Her paintings, sculptures, and performances have been shown internationally since 2012. Imhof’s work has been the subject of monographic exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2019), The Art Institute of Chicago (2019), the German Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2017), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016), Kunsthalle Basel (2016), MoMA PS1, New York (2015), Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain de Nîmes (2014), and Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2013). Her work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including at including at Tai Kwun, Hong Kong (2019), La Biennale de Montréal (2016), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015), the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015), and the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2014). She represented Germany at the 2017 Venice Biennale, where she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation, and won the Absolut Art Award (2017) and the Preis der Nationalgalerie (2015). Imhof was a guest professor and artist-in residence at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (2015) and a visiting artist at Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Yale University, New Haven, and the ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, among others. Imhof co-writes the music for her performance pieces, including Angst, Faust (both together with Franziska Aigner, Billy Bultheel, Eliza Douglas) and Sex (together with Bultheel, Douglas, and Ville Haimala). In 2017, Galerie Buchholz released her debut single, Brand New Gods. Her debut album, Faust, was released by PAN in 2019.

Education
2008–2012 Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Städelschule, Frankfurt a.M. Meisterschülerin with Judith Hopf
2000–2003 Hochschule für Gestaltung, Offenbach
Awards
2017 Golden Lion for Best National Participation, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice Absolut Art Award
2015 Fondazione Ettore Fico Prize, Turin Preis der Nationalgalerie, Berlin
2014 MoMA PS1 Annual Exhibition Fund, New York
2012 Graduation Prize - Absolventenpreis des Städelschule Portikus e.V., Frankfurt a.M.
ZAC - Zonta Art Contemporary, Award of ZONTA Club Frankfurt II Rhein-Main, Frankfurt a.M.
Residencies / Fellowships
2015 Artist-in-Residence, Visiting Professor in Performance Art, Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich
Artist-in-Residence, Villa Aurora, Goethe Institute, Los Angeles
2013 Studio Grant, Hessische Kulturstiftung, Paris