Kai Althoff combines traditional artmaking materials with crafted objects and found elements to create playfully dark works of art that explore some of the most profound aspects of human existence. He is particularly interested in what he has identified as parallels between German history and the psychology of male identity. Violence, sexuality, and complacency are staged against a backdrop of conflict. Untitled (for Lionel Maunz), created in honor of Althoff’s close artist friend, hails from a series of sculptural works conceived as a theoretical circus. It depicts a wide-eyed, downhearted green lion that stares out at us from behind a cage. His orange prison features the outline of a zookeeper who swings the cell key around his finger—a taunting gesture that, for the King of the Jungle, reinforces the absence of any means of escape.
Label from Menagerie: Animals on View, March 11–June 4, 2017