Silke Otto-Knapp’s A light in the moon

Silke Otto-Knapp’s A light in the moon

University of California, San Diego

Silke Otto-Knapp, “Stage (moonlit),” 2011.
Pencil on paper; 8 1/2 x 11 5/8 inches.
Courtesy of the artist.

September 24, 2011

Silke Otto-Knapp
A light in the moon

University of California,
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA)
2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720

With slight changes in light, Silke Otto-Knapp’s paintings reveal clusters of dancers, a single body pressed up against the edges of the picture plane, or a moonlit landscape. The London-based, German artist uses the transparency of watercolor to describe movement, to activate spatial environments with kinetic materials, and to open up painting to the possibilities of performance. Using photographic documentation of seminal dances as source material, the artist gradually unfixes these images, removing information, adding new gestures, and mobilizing the canvas space. Pigment is saturated and then washed out or entirely removed, allowing abstracted silhouettes of bodies in motion to emerge from the silver gouache—flat and formally considered, but flexible, ready for action. This makes for a surprisingly kinesthetic spectacle: figures float tenuously between visibility and invisibility on the threshold of a pictorial/theatrical stage.

About the Artist
Born in 1970 in Osnabrück, Germany, Silke Otto-Knapp has been based in London since 1995. She has had solo exhibitions at Sadler’s Wells, London; Kunstverein Munich; Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; Modern Art Oxford; Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna; and the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf. She has recently participated in group exhibitions at the Tate Britain, London; Wiels, Brussels; The Artist’s Institute, New York; Hessel Museum of Art, New York; Kunsthall, Oslo; Migros Museum, Zurich; and the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven. She was also included in the British Art Show 6 at the BALTIC Centre, Gateshead, and the 9th International Istanbul Biennial, both in 2005. She holds a degree in cultural studies from the University of Hildesheim and a master of arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.

Exhibition Opening / L @ TE: MATRIX Live
Friday, September 30
5:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Admission is free.
For the opening of MATRIX 239 / Silke Otto-Knapp: A light in the moon, two films and two dances reconsider formal paradigms found in her paintings. The program commences with footage of Parades and Changes by Anna Halprin, performed at the opening of the Berkeley Art Museum on November 6, 1970, and Dance Fractions for the West Coast, a pedagogical dance that includes an extremely rare 1969 recording of Yvonne Rainer performing Trio A. Following this, and a Q & A with Otto-Knapp, are live performances of Trio A in three variations and new work by the artist/choreographer Flora Wiegmann.

Programmed by Dena Beard.

For more information about the exhibition and special programs visit:

Exhibition conceived by Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator Elizabeth Thomas. The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Gallery Hours:

Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; open till 9 p.m. on L@TE Fridays

Closed Monday and Tuesday

Press contact: 
Peter Cavagnaro

Silke Otto-Knapp's A light in the moon
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University of California, San Diego
September 24, 2011

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