Photo: Sharon Lockhart

Silke Otto-Knapp, Stack, 2020. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

It is with profound sadness that Regen Projects announces the passing of artist Silke Otto-Knapp (1970–2022).


Born in Osnabrück, Germany, Silke Otto-Knapp earned an MA from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, in 1996, and a degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Hildesheim, Germany, in 1997. The artist lived for many years in Los Angeles, where she worked and taught at the University of California Los Angeles as Professor of Painting and Drawing in the School of Art and Architecture since 2015.


Otto-Knapp made an indelible impact through her singular work as an artist. Her generosity as a friend, mentor, colleague and teacher was deeply felt by all that encountered her. Otto-Knapp’s oeuvre is defined by monochromatic watercolor paintings, many of which derive their subject matter from the history of theater, dance, and performance. Her atmospheric works explore interrelations between the real and the ideal, the personal and the social, referencing moments, images, and landscapes, transforming and transcending their origins.


During her life she was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2020); Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015); Kunsthalle Wien (2014); Camden Arts Centre, London (2014); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2013); Kunstverein, Munich (2010); and Tate Britain, London (2005). Her paintings appeared in the São Paulo Biennial (2021), Liverpool Biennial (2018), and Made in LA (2016). Her work can be seen in Los Angeles in the upcoming exhibition Joan Didion: What She Means at the Hammer Museum and a solo project at Casa Mutina Milano, Italy.


Otto-Knapp’s work is included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Art Institute of Chicago; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mudam, Luxembourg; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Tate Modern, London; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; among others.


Silke is survived by her sisters Iris Madill and Kirsten Otto-Knapp and husband Holger; nieces and nephews Jannik, Sophie, Matilda Otto-Knapp and Alfie Madill.