Born in 1970 in Osnabrück, Silke Otto-Knapp majored in cultural studies at the University of Hildesheim and received her MFA from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. Otto-Knapp works in the medium of watercolor on canvas and produces landscape paintings as well as paintings based on historical documentations of stage design and performance. Unlike traditional watercolorists, Otto-Knapp applies layers of watercolor that are washed down and then applied anew. These countless coats produce the coexistence of conflicting concepts of space – surface and depth, contour and corporeality, distance and closeness, reality and figurativeness – which give rise to a tension between the motif and the picture surface.
She has held solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2020); the Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2017); the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015); the Kunsthalle Wien and the Camden Arts Centre, London (2014); the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2013); the Kunstverein Munich (2010); and the Tate Britain, London (2005). She has also participated in many group exhibitions, including Michael Clark “Cosmic Dancer”, Barbican Centre Art Gallery, London (2020); “Performer and Participant”, Tate Modern, London (2019); the Liverpool Biennial 2018, “Beautiful world where are you?”; “Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only”, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); “Sacré 101 – An Exhibition Based on The Rite of Spring”, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2014); “Dance/Draw”, the ICA, Boston, MA (2011); and the 9th International Istanbul Biennial (2005).