Thomas Kilpper,
Independent Artist
Berlin, Germany
Telephone: +49-030-49301690
Mobile: +49-0179-947-3040

Links to the Work of Thomas Kilpper:

Keynote Address #2: “Cutting, Inking and Printing: Historical Impressions”

I am trained as a sculptor, and tend to regard any artistic choice of materials of process is service to a particular artistic concept. While I do not think of myself as a printmaker, for several years I have used woodcut methods to cut large-scale relief-blocks into the floor of historic buildings. The images are cut directly into the floor, and are my response to the the history and memory of that particular building. Using a large, heavy roller I have fabricated, I print 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. The process of researching the history of the site, cutting the image on the floor, pulling the print and presenting the finished work on the exterior of the building serves to present my interpretation of the history of the building.

In this paper I will offer an overview of my work, focusing on two of these projects. “Don’t Look Back,” was made from a woodblock I carved into a 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”, I 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. I interwove these histories with pictures, including more than 80 portraits and elements from my own biography. The narrative starts with an 18th Century octagonal chapel that used to occupy the site. Later the building briefly became one of London's first cinemas, then, more notoriously, the first popular boxing arena known as 'The Ring'. From 1910 to 1940, The Ring played host to some of the most famous boxers in London. In 1940, the chapel was destroyed in the Blitz.

In this presentation I will address my reasons for using woodcut, and how my process inform the visual content of these works.

THOMAS KILPPER was born in Stuttgart in 1956 and lives in Berlin, Germany. He studied Fine Arts at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Nuernberg, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. In 1999-2000 he received a Hessian Art Foundation Grant to work and live in London during which time he also received Project-fund Grant from London Arts for the installation “Drowning Hercules” Kilpper received the HAP-Grieshaber Prize, (VG-Bildkunst and Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn) in 2004. His recent projects and exhibitions include “Castoren zu Half-Pipes”, Ahaus, Sculpture-Bienial Munsterland (2005); “Lighter than Ai”r, (planned) air objects in Ramallah, Palestine in collaboration with Tomas Saraceno (2005); “Ulrike Meinhof”, Meerrettich Gallery, Glaspavillon Volksbühne, Berlin (2004); “Bakery” (1997-2004), Installation, Heide-Projects, Art Frankfurt (2004); “AL HISSAN – The Jenin Horse”, sculpture-project with Palestinian youths in the public space in the occupied territories in collaboration with the Goethe Institute; “Fuck your Landlord”, field-work, sculpture, performance, video with movable shed (2004). Kilpper is internationally renown for his use of architectural scale woodcut methods to transform historical buildings and spaces. In 2000 Kilpper created “The Ring”, a monumental woodcut and installation, held at the Orbit House in London. His 1998-99 project  “Don´t Look Back” was completed at Camp King, a United States Army base in Oberursel nearby Frankfurt on Main. Prior to this, in 1997 he completed “Russian Parquet” a woodcut pulled from the the parquet flooring of the former military mission of the Sovjet-Union in Frankfurt on Main, Germany. His works are in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; British Library, London; South London Gallery, London; Municipalitie’s Collection of Nürnberg. ___________________________________________________________________________________


Thomas Kilpper's banner "don't look back" (pictured above) will be presented on the exterior of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. The Institut fur Auslands-Beziehungen has committed 1,000 Euros to support the project, and the conference is committing an additional 900 Euros. We are seeking 500 Euros from and additional source to complete the funding of this project.

Here is a link to the work:

The banner is 22 x 12 meters, and would be a significant additional to the conference in this year of German-Polish relations.

Working with the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland and Thomas Kilpper, we have identified the main building of the Academy (Al. Marcinkowskiego  29, 60-967 Poznan, Poland) as the best location for the project. This building will be one of the two main venues during the conference and has a significant public profile - as the main city post office is accross the street. It is also on the same street as the National Museum of Poznan, which is the central location for the conference.


1,000 EUROS Committed from the Institut für Auslands-beziehungen e.V.
Ursula Zeller, Head of Fine Arts
Institut für Auslands-beziehungen e.V.
Charlottenplatz 17
70173 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone: +49.711.2225-118




1200 Euros, mounting and unmounting of the banner (we have a contractor in Poznan)
700 Euros, shipping of banner from Frankfurt to Poznan & Poznan to Frankfurt
200 Euros, preliminary site visit to Poznan by Thomas Kilpper
300 Euros, participation in Poznan phase of conference by Thomas Kilpper

TOTAL BUDGET: 2400 Euros