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Keynote Address:
Friday March 20, 2015, KCC Ballroom ABC, 5:15-6:15pm

Note dated January 16, 2015: We deeply regret to announce that Thomas Kilpper will not able to come to the Sphere conference, as the US State Department has him on a list denying him entry to the United States.  In the 1980s Kilpper was involved in anti-war and environmental causes, and was imprisoned for 20 months despite a history of non-violent activities. Kilpper’s criminal record was later cleared. Beauvais Lyons has worked with his senator and congressman to make inquiries on behalf of Mr. Kilpper’s visa application, including two letters in June and July to Secretary of State John Kerry. To date Mr. Kilpper had three interviews at the US Embassy in Berlin regarding his visa application, and his most recent interview appeared to be very positive. We hope in the future that Mr. Kilpper will be able to come to the United States to exhibit and present his work.

Thomas Kilpper

Thomas Kilpper lives and works primarily in Berlin, Germany and was recently appointed Professor of Printmaking at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, in Bergen, Norway. Educated as a sculptor, he studied Fine Arts at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Nuernberg, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. Kilpper is internationally renowned for his use of architectural scale woodcut methods to transform historical buildings and spaces. Using a large, heavy roller he fabricated, Kilpper prints the woodblock on modern textiles. The textile sections are then sewn together and the print is then hung on the building exterior, similar to a banner. For one of his projects “Don’t Look Back,” the print was made from a woodblock he carved into a 12 x 20 meter wooden basketball court at Camp King, in the vicinity of Frankfurt/Main, which was used after 1945 by the US secret service for interrogations of significant Nazi officers. For a later project titled “The Ring,” he spent five months cutting into the (tenth) floor of Orbit House, an abandoned office block in Blackfriars (London). The core of the work is four-hundred square meter woodcut, cut directly into the mahogany parquet floor of the building. The woodcut has been formed from memories of the varied histories of the site now occupied by Orbit House.

Throughout his career, Kilpper has engaged history and the public sphere with artistic interventions that reveal hidden or obscured political and social significances. He works with local neighborhoods and people’s stories, using his research to create a picture of a history more complicated than official lines. He conceives his works as installation or performance to develop the large-scale visibility that provokes public dialogue. http://www.kilpper-projects.de/blog/

Thomas Kilpper, Don't Look Back, 12 x 20 meters, woodcut

Thomas Kilpper, "Don't Look Back," 12 x 20 meters, woodcut, installed on the Academy of Fine Arts, Poznan, Poland during the 2005 IMPACT Conference.