Close this search box.

Alicja Kwade


As you explore the creative life and sculptural works of renowned contemporary artist Alicja Kwade, you will gain insight into a visionary mind that sees beyond surface realities. Kwade's art invites you to question what you think you know about the world around you and venture into a realm where the logical and illogical intersect. 

While her works are deeply philosophical, Kwade brings a sense of wonder and playfulness to her artistic practice. She allows us to see ourselves and the world anew by bending the familiar into new shapes. Kwade's sculptures stand as a reminder that reality is fragile and fleeting, forever in flux - much like the materials she thoughtfully transforms.

This is your opportunity to understand what drives an artist who sculpts enigmas and engineers experiences that spark wonder and confusion in equal measure. Let yourself get lost in the worlds that Kwade creates with precision and passion. Her art may leave you with more questions than answers, but that is precisely the point.

More Facts

Name: Alicja

Surname: Kwade

Lives & Works:

Lives in State:


Date of Birth:


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Alicja Kwade BIOGRAPHY

Alicja Kwade
Image Credit: Visit Berlin

Early Life and Education: Alicja kwade’s Upbringing in Poland

Alicja Kwade was born in Katowice, Poland in 1979. She grew up under communist rule in Poland before the fall of the Berlin Wall. This experience of living behind the Iron Curtain shaped her skeptical and inquisitive nature from an early age.

Where Did Alicja Kwade Study?

Kwade demonstrated an aptitude for math and science as a child. She first studied physics at the University of Wroclaw before focusing on art. At 19, she came to Berlin’s University of Arts to study sculpture. There, Kwade honed her craft under the tutelage of influential sculptors and conceptual artists.

Travels Shape Her Artistic Vision

After graduating in 2007, Kwade travelled extensively through Asia, visiting countries like Nepal, Thailand, and Cambodia. These journeys exposed her to different cultures and beliefs, influencing her artistic philosophy of questioning commonly held assumptions and perceptions of reality. Her sculptures often explore themes of time, space, and relativism.

Kwade’s diverse life experiences fuel her creative work. Her upbringing in a post-communist country cultivated her tendency to challenge preconceptions and push boundaries. Her background in science gave her an analytical and inquisitive mindset. And her travels opened her up to different ways of understanding the world around us. All of these influences coalesce in Kwade’s thought-provoking and imaginative sculptures. Her art invites us to step outside familiar frameworks and see the world anew.

What is Alicja Kwade known for?

Alicja Kwade
Image Credit: Arte Fuse

Alicja Kwade is known for her ability to turn the physics of everyday objects inside out, revealing the surreal within the mundane. She creates installations and sculptures that play with perception, space, and time. Her works seem familiar yet strange, evoking a sense of distorted memories or dreams.

Career highlights

Alicja Kwade
Image Credit: E-Flux

Artistic Influences: The Artists and Styles That Shaped kwade’s Esthetic

She has cited several German artists as early influences in interviews, including Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, and Gerhard Richter. Like Beuys, Kwade is interested in humanity’s relationship to the natural world. Similar to Kiefer, she frequently incorporates organic materials into her work. And akin to Richter, Kwade explores ideas around perception and representation.

Kwade was also inspired by Minimalist artists of the 1960s, like Donald Judd, who emphasized simplified geometric forms and industrial materials. This is evident in Kwade’s early sculptures featuring mirrors, glass, and metal. Over time, her work has become more complex but still retains a Minimalist economy of form.

In the 1990s, Kwade studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where professors included Rosemarie Trockel and Nam June Paik. Trockel’s conceptual approach to gender roles and feminism parallels Kwade’s practice. And Paik’s experiments with video and television influenced Kwade’s incorporation of light and optics into her art.

These German and Minimalist predecessors, combined with the critical theory Kwade encountered in art school, merged into her mature style. Blending natural elements with technology, Kwade creates work that invites contemplation of existential questions about humanity’s relationship to the world, the nature of reality, and the human condition. Her sculpture aims to poetically and philosophically explore what it means to be in the 21st century.

Solo Exhibitions

Kwade’s sculptures and installations have been featured in solo exhibitions at: 

  • Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt
  • Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Kunstmuseum St. Gallen in Switzerland

Her mid-career survey show at the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen in Switzerland cemented her status as an influential voice in contemporary art.

Alicja Kwade List of Work

Alicja Kwade
Image Credit: Ocula

Significant Works: kwade’s Most Notable Sculptures and Installations 

Alicja Kwade is known for her thought-provoking sculptures and installations that explore philosophy, science, and perception. Some of her most well-known works include:



A monumental outdoor sculpture in Paris’s Jardin des Plantes depicts a weeping willow tree made of steel and stones. The naturalistic work appears soft and pliable but is made of rugged, unyielding materials, highlighting the contrast between appearance and reality.


Hypothetisches Gebilde

An installation of stone spheres of gradually increasing size arranged in a line. The orbs appear perfectly round but are uneven and imperfect if viewed up close. The work examines how we perceive the world and the difference between the ideal and the real.


Against the Run

A kinetic sculpture of a large stone ball that appears to roll uphill, defying expectations and challenging our assumptions about physical forces like gravity. The ball is mounted on a concealed mechanism that rotates it, creating an illusion of ascending movement. The work explores how we can be deceived by what we observe with our own eyes.

Critical Reception and Awards: How Kwade’s Art Has Been Received

Alicja Kwade’s thought-provoking contemporary art has received widespread critical acclaim and recognition. Kwade’s work has garnered numerous honours and distinctions. 


Piepenbrock Prize for Sculpture, a prestigious award for contemporary sculptors working in Germany.


Berlin Art Prize for her solo exhibition at Berlinische Galerie, where she created a series of installations exploring concepts of time, space and knowledge.

Critics praise Kwade for her poetic and philosophical works that challenge our assumptions about reality and perception. Her sculptures made of found objects, natural materials and precious metals are described as enigmatic, uncanny and disorienting in their effects. 

Reviewers note how her art prompts reflection on profound themes like the relationship between the material and immaterial, the visible and invisible. Kwade’s photographs and installations that play with reflections, shadows and spatial illusion have been called mesmerizing and unsettling.

Recent Exhibitions and Current Work: Where to See Kwade’s Art Now

As Kwade’s prominence in the contemporary art world has grown, her thought-provoking sculptures and installations have been featured in major art institutions around the globe. Currently, you can experience Kwade’s art in person at several locations.


“L’inclination des choses” (“The Inclination of Things”)

The Center Pompidou in Paris is showcasing Kwade’s 2019 outdoor installation. This monumental work features five massive spheres that appear to be teetering off-balance, representing Kwade’s exploration of equilibrium and humanity’s desire to control natural forces.


“Zeitgeber,” which translates to “time giver” or “synchronizer.”

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has acquired Kwade’s sculpture. This minimalist bronze work resembles a large clock face without hands, alluding to the human constructs of measuring and controlling time.


“Theory of Everything”

In London, White Cube Gallery is exhibiting new works from Kwade’s series, which examines connections between space, time, and the human experience. Using materials like obsidian, steel, and aluminum, these enigmatic sculptures offer more questions than answers about the universe and our place in it.

Wherever her art may lead you, Kwade’s thought-provoking sculptures will surely spark contemplation about life’s most profound mysteries. You’ll gain insight into how this renowned conceptual artist utilizes minimalism and physics to explore profound ideas by encountering her works in person.

Follow Alicja Kwade on social media


Discover Artists



Page link

Link successfully copied. Ready to paste!