Friedhard Kiekeben

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TWO PILLARS: artist wraps CTA Orange Line pillars


Press Release

The CTA Orange line train rattles over head, crossing Harrison Avenue as it swings south west towards Midway. Beneath the tracks two massive concrete support pillars have been wrapped in a  swirling luminescent design created by artist Friedhard Kiekeben. 

At street level the TWO PILLARS form an impressive gateway through which pedestrians pass on there way to Michigan Avenue. What was a drab and purely functional structure has been turned into a vibrant and witty piece of street architecture (or furniture?).

Kiekeben is a German artist. He trained at the Royal College of Art in London and after 15 years living in the UK is now based in Chicago where he is Professor of Printmaking at Columbia College.  His works of art usually take form as digital wall drawings, etched and printed metal friezes and sequences of etchings. The massive pillar wrap designs were developed in conjunction with the recent series of intaglio prints that formed part of the recent ‘Cascade-Shatter-Flow’ exhibition at the Caro d’Offay Gallery.  

The Columns project was sponsored by the CTA and Columbia College Chicago Kiekeben’s unusual pillar design is on view on Harrison Street between Dearborn and Wabash Avenue in the South Loop. 

Kiekeben’s works of art take form as digital wall drawings, etched and printed metal friezes and sculptures, and sequences of original prints. His projects often include tailor made and site specific installations – such as ‘Two Pillars’ – and are exhibited internationally in private and public galleries and museums. 

In recent work minimalist grids are subjected to exuberant digital manipulations. Through warping, twisting, and expanding, the solidity of the source image gives way to the vibrant dynamism of simulated flow patterns: ‘cascade’, ‘tumble’, ‘flow’.

Kiekeben does not seek to create context or content for the digital source, yet the resulting plates, prints and sculptures are realigned to express structures as alive as the flow of water, blood or the rhythm of life itself. 

The innovative use of dichotomy, to use fixed or closed structures to reveal organic and open-ended ones, is also reiterated in his inventions of several non-toxic printmaking techniques. Each and every angle of his work and research moves with the speed of innovation in order to create possibilities just beyond the comfort and ease of convention.

As Caro d’Offay continues to curate exhibits exploring open-ended systems, this public project by Friedhard Kiekeben is a prime example of how she selects artists and their bodies of work serving to express the larger, peripheral pattern of the gallery’s own open-ended system.

You can see TWO PILLARS on East Harrison and Wabash until further notice.

For more information about Friedhard Kiekeben visit

To contact the gallery or the artist:

Tel: 312 583 9442/ 312 369 6880 


Caro D’Offay Gallery