Keren Cytter

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Keren Cytter (born 22 August 1977) is an Israeli visual artist and writer.


Cytter, born 22 August 1977, spent her childhood in Israel and went on to study visual arts at the Avni Institute of Art and Design, Tel Aviv. After finding success in various galleries in her home country, she moved to Amsterdam on a scholarship from De Ateliers where she studied with Willem de Rooij and Marlene Dumas.[1] Her scope of work includes film, video installations, performance, drawings and photography. She is also a writer of novels, theatre plays and poetry.


Video Art

Cytter is best known for her textually based video art. Her narratives, although extremely fragmented, have a tendency to embody the post-modern self-awareness of the characters in her films. Through the development and execution of Cytter's unique style, she has found herself a niche in the art world which has brought her more and more critical attention and made her one of the most renowned artists of her generation.

After graduating from De ateliers in Amsterdam, Cytter made several works which went on to be shown internationally including The Date Series (2004, a series of short narratives written, filmed and produced in the period of one year), The Victim (2006), Repulsion (2005, based on Polanski's Repulsion), and The Milk Man (2003). Among her most famous work is Der Spiegel from 2007. In just one long shot she stages a Shakespearean drama in a stripped contemporary Berlin apartment in which a middle-aged woman is forced to confront the realities of her fading sexual attractiveness by a sadistic pair of younger women. Four Seasons (2009) is another example of essential Cytter: the absurdist low-fi mixture of a variety of film genres, from Film noir to Melodrama, culminates in the iconic shot of a burning Christmas tree set to the dramatic music of Ferrante & Teicher.[2]

Dance and Theatre

In 2008 Cytter formed a dance company called D.I.E NOW (Dance International Europe Now) consisting of 5 non-professional dancers. Their first production History in the Making - The True Story of John Webber, which was based on a wide range of influences including Pina Bausch, Samuel Beckett, Disney on Ice, Michael Jackson, Yvonne Rainer and the 1980s dance-floor filler Lambada, went on an international tour and was presented in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in London, The Kitchen in New York City, Tramway in Glasgow and Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin.[3][4]

The same year the British magazine Art Review ran a cover story on her entitled "I just wanted to attract attention".[5]

She initiated her foundation APE - art projects era together with Dutch curator Maaike Gouwenberg in 2010. The aim of the organization is to develop projects (performances, exhibitions, printed matter, meetings) that cannot necessarily be realized within traditional institutional formats or frameworks.[6]

Later that year she wrote and directed the play Show Real Drama, produced by APE and partly based on the lives of its two actors, Susanne Meyer and Fabian Stumm. In the piece, which uses videos and repetitive dialogue and movements creating a fractured yet empathetic storyline, they are struggling with the demanding entertainment business while their relationship is slowly falling apart. The production met with great success, the Houston Chronicle calling it "intriguing (...) something deconstructionist architect Frank Gehry might conjure if he were a playwright; a story pulled apart at the seams then re-configured with cool wit and 21st-century angst." As of 2014, the play has been performed all around the world from London, New York City and Houston to Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul.[7][8][9]

In the spring of 2010 her work was featured on the cover of the American Art Magazine Artforum, which ran an extensive story on her body of work.[10]

Her next play Anke is Gone or I Eat Pickles At Your Funeral opened in Berlin at Hebbel am Ufer in 2011 and was invited to the Images Festival Toronto in 2012.[11]

In 2013 Cytter collaborated with musicians Keira Fox, Charlie Feinstein and David Aird on Vociferous, a fluid combination of musical concert, video work and performance which was presented at the ICA Institute of Contemporary Art, London. Adrian Searle wrote in his The Guardian review: "As a mix of live performance and video, the recent collaboration between Adam Curtis and Massive Attack at the Manchester International Festival set a standard. Vociferous is both more intimate, more alienating, and more of a mash-up (...) After a bit I gave up trying to follow anything like a story, if there was one, or to chase the projected imagery, which came and went intermittently, first on one screen, then another. I felt a bit of a berk, running through the crowd with a notebook, trying to keep up, like an undercover cop blowing my own cover. Towards the end, Fox and Feinstein take up the electronic drums, and Fox starts singing from a ragged sheet of lyrics, the music hitting such a pitch that my nostril-hairs start to vibrate in sympathy."[12]

Recent projects

After six years in Berlin, Cytter relocated to New York City in 2012 where she initiated a quarterly publication focusing on art and poetry. Published by APE, it has so far featured Nora Schultz, John Kelsey and writings of Josef Strau, Matthew Dickman, Roman Baembaev, Roger van Voorhees and Sylvia Mae Gorelick.[13]

Her 2013 solo exhibition at Pilar Corrias Gallery in London presented an ambitious new body of work called MOP (Museum of Photography) - a large archive of Polaroid photographs documenting her life as she travelled from Berlin and London, to the USA and Israel from 2012 to 2013. Taken with her 1200i and One step 600 Polaroid camera, the photographs are carefully categorised by geography and chronology and then arranged into sub-sections, titled A, B, C and D and so on, via their aesthetic. Images of friends, colleagues, curators she encountered, museums she worked in, landscapes she passed through, and her own performances are all featured. The collection consists of more than 800 polaroids.[14]


In addition to her video and performance work, Cytter is also a critically acclaimed writer. Next to her three novels The Man Who Climbed the Stairs of Life and Found Out They Were Cinema Seats (2005), The Seven Most Exciting Hours of Mr. Trier’s Life in Twenty-Four Chapters (2008) and The Amazing True Story of Moshe Klinberg – A Media Star (2009), she has published poems as well as excerpts of her diary called White Diaries in 2010. She also wrote the libretto for the chamber opera Le Voisin by Thomas Myrmel.[15]


"I studied art because I wanted to go to New York and wash dishes." (2010)[16]

"Artists are like bees. Hard to catch, they have the tendency to die after doing something meaningful." (2012)[17]

"Not for epileptic people." (On her performance Vociferous, 2013)[18]


In 2006 Cytter won the Bâloise Prize at Art Basel, Switzerland.[19] She also received the Ars Viva Prize 2008 in Berlin and was one of the four nominees for the 2008 Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst, Berlin.[20][21] In 2009 Cytter became the first recipient of the Absolut Art Award in Stockholm and was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize in 2010.[22][23]

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2015 - GAME ON, CCA Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu – JP
  • 2015 - NICC, Brussels, BE
  • 2015 - Keren Cytter, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago – USA
  • 2014 - Keren Cytter, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen – DK
  • 2014 - Video Art Manual, State of Concept, Athens – GR
  • 2013 - Keren Cytter: MOP VENGEANCE, Pilar Corrias, London – UK
  • 2012 - Video Art Manual, DiverseWorks Art Space, Houston, Texas – US
  • 2012 - Based on a True Story, Oakville Galleries, Oakville – CA
  • 2011 - Avalanche, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam – NL
  • 2011 - The Hottest Day of the Year, Kunstverein München, Munich – DE
  • 2011 - Avalanche, Pilar Corrias & David Roberts Art Foundation, London – UK
  • 2010 - Keren Cytter, Moderna Museet, Stockholm – SE
  • 2010 - Repulsion, Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz/Basel – CH
  • 2010 - Konstruktion, Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin – DE
  • 2010 - Project Series: Keren Cytter, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles – US
  • 2009 - Keren Cytter, Frac Il-de-France/Il Plateau, Paris – FR
  • 2009 - Keren Cytter, CCA Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu – JP
  • 2009 - The Mysterious Series, X Initiative, New York – US
  • 2009 - Domestics, Pilar Corrias, London – UK
  • 2008 - Keren Cytter, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam – NL
  • 2008 - Keren Cytter, Centro Huarte de Arte Contemporáneo, Huarte – ES
  • 2008 - Keren Cytter, CCA Center For Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu – JP
  • 2007 - Keren Cytter, STUK Kunstcentrum, Leuven – BE
  • 2007 - The Victim, MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna – AT
  • 2007 - Something Happened, CUBITT Artists, London – UK
  • 2007 - Keren Cytter, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh – UK
  • 2006 - I was the good and he was the bad and the ugly, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin – DE
  • 2006 - Atmosphere, GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo – IT
  • 2005 - Keren Cytter, Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich – CH
  • 2005 - Keren Cytter, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main – DE
  • 2004 - My brain is in the wall, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam – NL


  • 2015 - The 6th Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moscow – RU
  • 2014 - Liverpool biennale, UK
  • 2014 - Marrakech Biennale, Morocco
  • 2013 - Leisure, Discipline and Punishment, 6th Biennial of Moving Image, Mechelen – BE
  • 2012 - Whistable Biennale, UK
  • 2011 - Videonale 13, Kunstmuseum Bonn – DE
  • 2011 - 3rd Thessaloniki Biennial of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki – GR
  • 2010 - 8th Gwangju Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Gwangju – KP
  • 2010 - VideoZone V: The 5th International Video Art Biennale in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tel Aviv – IL
  • 2009 - Fare Mondi 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice – IT
  • 2009 - New Museum Triennale The Generational: Younger Than Jesus, New Museum, New York – US
  • 2008 - Torino Triennale ‘50 Moons of Saturn, Torino, Italy
  • 2008 - Manifesta 7, Trentino – IT
  • 2008 - Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama – JP
  • 2008 - ARTLV – Tel Aviv Biennale, Tel Aviv – IL
  • 2008 - The Lyon Biennial, The History of a Decade That Has Not Yet Been Named, Lyon – FR
  • 2008 - The first Hertzelia Biennial, Hertzelia – IL
  • 2008 - The Second Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moscow – RU

She is represented by the galleries Pilar Corrias, London, Nagel Draxler, Berlin, Raffaella Cortese, Milan and Zach Feuer, New York City.

Selected Permanent Collections

  • Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
  • Tate Modern, London, UK
  • Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
  • Collection ARCO, Madrid, Spain
  • Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris, France
  • Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France
  • FRAC PACA, Marseille, France
  • Goetz Collection, Munich, Germany
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • MUMOK, Vienna, Austria
  • Collection Ringier, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland


  • Metamorphosis (2015)
  • Game on (2015)
  • Rose Garden (2014)
  • Siren (2014)
  • Ocean (2014)
  • Corrections (2013)
  • Vengeance (2012-2013)
  • Video Art Manual (2011)
  • Avalanche (2011)
  • Konstruktion (2010)
  • The Hottest Day of the Year (2010)
  • The Coat (2010)
  • Cross.Flowers.Rolex (2009)
  • Untitled (2009)
  • Peacocks (2009)
  • Four Seasons (2009)
  • In Search for Brothers / A Force from the Past (2008)
  • Les Ruissellements du Diable (2008)
  • Der Spiegel (2007)
  • Something Happened (2007)
  • Nightmare (2007)
  • The Victim (2006)
  • New Age (2007)
  • Repulsion (2005)
  • Atmosphere (2005)
  • Dreamtalk (2005)
  • Continuity (2005)
  • Time (2005)
  • Date Series (2004)
  • Nothing (2003)
  • MF Pig (2003)
  • Disillusioned Love 2 (2003)
  • Family (2002)
  • French Film (2002)
  • Experimental Film (2002)
  • Videodance (2002)
  • Documenta Y (2002)
  • War and Peace (2002)
  • The Friends Series (2001)
  • Brush (2001)
  • The Mysterious Series (2000)


  • MOP - Museum of Photography. MER Paper Kunsthalle, 2013
  • The Woman With Fifteen Legs. Nieves, Zurich, 2013
  • D.I.E Now – The True Story of John Webber and His Endless Struggle With the Table of Content. Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2012.
  • Keren Cytter. Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2011
  • Four Seasons and Nightmare. Les presses du reel, France, 2011
  • White Diaries. CCA Kitakyushu, 2010
  • Keren Cytter, Manuel Graf, Simon Muller, and Tris Vonna-Michell. Ars Viva 08: Mise en Scene. Hatje Cantz, 2009
  • The Amazing True Story of Moshe Klinberg – A Media Star. Read it to believe it! Onestar Press, Paris, 2009
  • The Seven Most Exciting Hours of Mr Trier‘s Life in Twenty-Four Chapters. Witte de With. Rotterdam and Sternberg, Berlin, 2008
  • I Was the Good and He Was the Bad and the Ugly. Revolver, Berlin, 2006
  • The Man Who Climbed Up the Stairs of Life and Found Out They Were Cinema Seats. Lukas & Sternberg, New York, Berlin, 2005


  1. Keren Cytter biography. Noga Gallery
  2. Keren Cytter - Four Seasons. Schau Ort.
  3. Keren Cytter on D.I.E NOW Mousse Magazine
  4. Keren Cytter at HAU Berlin Texte zur Kunst
  5. Keren Cytter Portrait Art Review
  6. About APE. art projects era
  7. Show Real Drama art projects era
  8. Show Real Drama Review Houston Chronicle
  9. Show Real Drama Review Tip Berlin
  10. True Lies - The Art of Keren Cytter Artis Contemporary/Artforum
  11. Keren Cytter Images Festival
  12. Keren Cytter's Vociferous The Guardian
  13. Publications art projects era
  14. Keren Cytter and her 800 polaroids Another Mag
  15. Keren Cytter Bibliography Nagel Draxler Gallery
  16. Keren Cytter Moderna Museet
  17. Keren Cytter Interview Shitmycatreads
  18. Keren Cytter's Vociferous The Guardian
  19. Keren Cytter Profile Artis Contemporary
  20. Ars Viva Kunstpreis Monopol Magazine
  21. Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst Berliner Morgenpost
  22. Absolut Art Award Flash Art Online
  23. Shortlist 2010 Future Generation Art Prize

External links