Luki von der Gracht
Artist, Writer, Performer
Luki von der Gracht’s artistic work is genre-bending and includes written and spoken word, collage, performance, photography, drawing, painting, video and installation. In the centre of their artistic research is the human being with it’s past, present and future. It’s imagination, emotion and destination. Luki von der Gracht provides a space for awareness, presence, perspective and inspiration. A big part of their work is the search for community, identity and purpose. How do you find this place, build it up and protect it? Who discriminates against who? How can you question and break through society’s power structures? Who makes the rules? What is the power of the artistic gesture? In form of a poem, protest or hope.
Visual Arts (Freie Kunst) at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
2019 – 2020 Prof. Dominique Gonzalez - Foerster (Meisterschüler-Diploma)
2016 – 2018 Prof. Trisha Donnelly
2014 – 2016 Prof. Rita McBride
Selected Stipends and Awards
2021 Peter Mertes Stipendium (Nomination)
2021 Von Rundstedt Förderstipendium 2021
2020 NRW Bank Kunstpreis 2020 Audience Award
2018 Residency Stipend of the Cité International des Arts, Paris
2017 Travel Stipend to excellent students of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from Kunstverein
für die Rheinlande und Westfalen and Kunst -und Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf
Selected Exhibitions and Performances
Rheinische Post (06/2021)
Ginza Magazine (JP) (09/2020)
Interview Magazine (USA) (03/2019)
i-D Germany (09/2016)
Luki von der Gracht recently exhibited a large work at the K21 in the show "Coming to voice" and won the Rundstedt Art Promotion Prize. Now they are one of six young artists who are presenting works in the exhibition "Journey Through a Body" at the Kunsthalle. All of these international artists - Tschabalala Self, Christina Quarles, Kate Cooper, Cajsa von Zeipel and Nicole Ruggiero - explore gender identity and body perception from different angles. It is a cross-gender and cross-cultural search for the self.
Luki von der Gracht's work is about humanity and tolerance, about the multi-layered emotions and needs of each: Hope, faith, fear, love, belonging. The central theme for von der Gracht is the gender issue, which has become the focus of public debate in recent years thanks to courageous pioneers. Even today, sexuality and gender identity that is not hetero-normative is criminalized in 69 states, with 15 even facing the death penalty.
Von der Gracht turned their negative experiences into something positive - art. "It is the place I have created for myself, my spiritual, creative space. I stay curious, try new things, want to learn and always challenge myself." Confidence is contagious" says Luki von der Gracht in one of their works. A hopeful message.
Dr. Dorothee Achenbach on "Journey Through A Body", Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Rheinische Post, 06/21
Luki von der Gracht’s cross-media work is devoted to human beings in their search for identity. With the help of installation-based, performative, photographic and videographic works, aswell as dance, performance, music, and fashion, von der Gracht explores, among other things, social belonging, origin and gender in an effort to gain greater visibility for marginalised groups. Their visual language is gentle and forceful at the same time. Using a limited set of materials and techniques, the works succeed in conveying their central message and spur the viewers to engage with their own prejudices, constructs, and assumptions: short phrases, statements, or allusions, painted or spoken, spark reflection. Photographs with a poetic quality show situations and places that offer room for advanced thought. In collages of found footage, von der Gracht takes up existing normative images and understandings of the body and puts them up for discussion. The search for identity is also reflected in their effort to crate a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA* community.
For the exhibition, von der Gracht has created an outdoor environment indoors, in which sculptural elements and above all large-scale drawings and photographs are on display.
Text by Alicia Holthausen and Dr. Gregor Jansen for "Journey Through A Body", Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 05/21
Luki von der Gracht documents how beautiful it is to step out into the open, to step out of oneself into freedom. And at the same time: how dangerous it can be there. For the outdoors is always also the unprotected space of a new order and of a new and unrehearsed togetherness, which therefore has yet to be defined. In general, some of the works shown here are grounded in melancholy.
Philipp Holstein on "Journey Through A Body", Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Westdeutsche Zeitung, 06/21
In Luki von der Gracht's work, each work is a fragment of a larger quest, arranged like a puzzle, but with gaps and open questions that explore identity. There are repetitions, changes and transformations in it that sensitively draw from personal experiences and confrontations with medial environments.
Luki von der Gracht sees artistic work as a tool to bring about healing and empowerment. Luki's photography -and video works and installation-performative space installations always draw from personal experiences.
Dora Cohnen on "We Are Known By Many Names," Mouches Volantes, City Review Cologne, 04/21
Luki von der Gracht's artistic work is an intense, sensitive, cross-media exploration and questioning of identity. The incredibly broad spectrum of their artistic work ranges from texts, poems, drawings, objects, video and sound works, photographs and collages, spatial installations and performance to his own band "Die Hässlichen Vögel".
Dr. Dorothee Achenbach, Isabelle von Rundstedt, Prof. Dr. Robert Fleck, Dr. Gregor Jansen, Dr. Rupert Pfad (Jury Von Rundstedt Grant), 02/21
With the help of the collage technique, Luki von der Gracht shows that the human being is the result of superimpositions, in which even supposedly disparate things can exist simultaneously, and change is possible.
Cécile Huber & Florentine Muhry for "Coming To Voice", K21 Kunstsammlung NRW, 01/21
Luki von der Gracht and Isabella Fürnkäs deal with the opening of self-organized structures of artistic collaboration, as well as the critical negotiation of those constraints of representation and institutionalization in which they find themselves as artists. In 2016, their video work Selfiecalypse Teen Hunger Ultra Death Attack 1.0 (2015) was on view at the Abteiberg Museum Mönchengladbach. A selfie stick duel in which the Fürnkäs and von der Gracht fought not only against each other, but as it were against themselves. Their class-independent intervention for this year's tour consists of banners that selectively overwrite the corridors and spaces of the academy with words like. As a sensitive, aesthetic, provocative and political statement, these transparent Love Banners question existing power structures, not least against the backdrop of current political and social developments in recent months. They are part of an ephemeral, performative protest action that seeks to open up new spaces for action beyond mere criticism.
Eva Birkenstock, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen,
Jury statement Travel grant to outstanding students of the students of the Düsseldorf Art Academy, 2017