artist’s profile

Kai Lossgott, (2015)

Kai Lossgott exploring public screenings for the performance series ‘Project Carbon: The Destiny of Things’ (2015). Photo: Niklas Zimmer

Kai Lossgott’s work investigates questions of personal and environmental health as human agency within the socio-ecological crisis. His videos are screened on local street corners, at international museum and gallery events, as well as film festivals. The artist is also known for his public performance collaborations and curating moving image.  His work has been shown at the Dak’art Biennale, Dakar; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Johannesburg Art Gallery and Museum Africa, Johannesburg; Arnot Art Museum, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London.

The artist received the Barclays l’Atelier Award for African Artists (2015).  Residencies include SaSa Art Projects (Cambodia 2016), OPENLab (ZA 2016), the Cité Internationale des Arts (FR, 2015 – 2016), Sylt Foundation Residency (DE, 2014), Infecting the City Public Arts Festival, (ZA, 2009) and Nirox Foundation (ZA, 2008).  He holds tertiary qualifications in dance theatre, documentary film, creative writing and fine art, all cum laude, including an MA from the University of Cape Town. As speaker and community arts facilitator, he publishes and lectures internationally, most recently at the Royal Academy of Arts, Antwerp.  German by birth (1980), South African by upbringing, Lossgott currently lives and works in Johannesburg and the world.

His curatorial venture CITY BREATH (2010) initiated short interdisciplinary and experimental film collaborations from four South African cities. A selection was screened at the British Film Institute in London in May 2010, followed by an international tour, to popular and critical acclaim.  LETTERS FROM THE SKY (2011), is an artist’s film ‘delegation’ screened in hotel lobbies at the COP17 global climate summit in Durban.

The artist holds tertiary qualifications in dance theatre, documentary film, creative writing and fine art, all cum laude, including an MA from the University of Cape Town. An environmental activist and community arts facilitator, he has published and lectured at various South African universities, most recently part-time at the University of Pretoria. German by birth (1980), South African by upbringing, Lossgott currently lives and works in Johannesburg and the world.


“Captures the unfolding transnational zeitgeist of the twenty-first century.”

Alexandra Dodd, art writer and researcher, on LETTERS FROM THE SKY, Art South Africa Magazine, Vol 10 Issue 03, Autumn 2012.

“Kai provides the link to bio-centeredness that reveals awe for the regenerative force of life: life in its recovery after erasure is an empowering statement for the times we live in.” 

Gwenneth Miller, introduction to “Talking to the tree outside my window while I sleep

“Like the notion of the movie that plays before our eyes when we die, Kai Lossgott’s dreamlike … visual score is the thread that keeps the edges of this tapestry together.”

Marianne Thamm, “Mesmerises like a dancing cobra”, Sunday Times, July 17 2011, South Africa.

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Selected solo exhibitions

2016 hunter-gatherer. Schillerpalais, Berlin, DE.  Curated by top e. v.
2011 Lexicography of the heart. Grande Provence Gallery, Franschoek, ZA. Franschoek Literary Festival.
2010 Winelands VAN-Guard. Oude Libertas Gallery, Stellenbosch, ZA.
2008 Nothing with skin is blind. Gordart Gallery, Johannesburg, ZA
2004 Secure. UNISA Oak Square Gallery, Pretoria, ZA.

Selected group exhibitions

2016.  100 Geographies.  Stellenbosch University Museum, ZA.  Curated by Elizabeth Vermeulen.

2016.  Stories of Rain.  AVA Gallery, Cape Town, ZA.  Curated by Strijdom van der Merwe and Anni Snyman, in partnership between Yatoo, Korea, and site_specific, ZA.

2016.  Water.  Urban video installation exhibition, 7th Geumgang Nature Art Biennale, Gongju, Korea.  Curated by Rim Jai-Kwang.

2016.  The dirty business show.  PlanoLisboa 2016, ‘Critical Cities’. Museu das Comunicações of Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações.  15 Sept – 30 Oct 2016.  Curated by Adonay Bermúdez.

2016.  Museé-l’ont-eux (Museum-muzzle’em).  Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FR.  11 – 14 July 2016.  Curated by Pascale Obolo.  

2016.  hunter-gatherer / apartheid and proximity.  Performance and artist’s talk.  6 June 2016.  Institute of Contemporary Art, Zagreb.  

2016.  Exposer le pensée (Showing thought).  African Art Book Fair, Dakar Biennale.  Curated by Pascale Obolo and JayOne.  Featured artist.  3 – 8 May 2016.  

2015.  Raw Catalyst.  Ruskin Gallery, University of East Anglia, Cambridge, UK.

2015.  Analogue Eye.  Video Art from Africa.  National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, ZA.  Infecting the City Festival  Cape Town, ZA.  Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, AT.    

2014.  Boda Boda Lounge : Video across borders.  Addis Ababa,, FDRE.  Bamako, MLI.  Bulawayo,  ZIM.  Cairo,  EGY.  Harare,  ZIM.  Johannesburg, ZA.  Lagos, NG.  Luanda, AO.  Lubumbashi, COD.  Kampala, UG.  São Vicente, CV.

2014. CURRENT: Bridging Post Digital Technologies,  Academy of Art, Cannery Galleries, San Francisco.  Night Gallery, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

2013. Weather Report. Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom, ZA.

2013. Metromusings. University of Pretoria, ZA.

2012 – 2013. Still Fighting Ignorance & Intellectual Perfidy. Video Art from Africa. Video Art from Africa. AIVA Festival, Angelholm, SE. Arena 1 Gallery, Los Angeles, USA. Lucca Center of Contemporary Art, Lucca, IT. Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, California, USA. Pori Art Museum, Pori, FI. Kunsthalle Sao Paolo, Sao Paulo, BR. Motorenhalle Centre for Contemporary Art, Desden, DE.  Videoformes, Clermont-Ferrand, FR. Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, SE.

2013. Digi-Re-Engineering. UNISA Gallery, Pretoria, ZA.

2012.  Appeal 2012: Art, Law and the Media. Guerilla Gallery, Johannesburg, ZA.

2012. Pointure. University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, ZA.

2012. IMAGEM-CONTATO (TACTILE IMAGES). Mostra de Imagem em Movimento (Moving Image Showcase). Mostra SESC De Artes 2012, São Paulo, BR.

Awards & residencies

2015 Barclays l’Atelier Award.
2014 Sylt Foundation Artist’s Residency, Sylt, Germany.
2011 Magmart Festival Award, ‘Video under Volcano’. Fondazione Forum Universale della Cultura, Naples.
2009 Infecting the City Public Arts Residency, Africa Centre, Cape Town
2008 Nirox Foundation Artist’s Residency, Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Johannesburg.
2008 The Road to Nieu Bethesda. Intercultural symposium of Swiss & SA artists. Nieu Bethesda, ZA.
2006 University of Cape Town Research Scholarship & Harry Crossley Scholarship.
1999 Rhodes University Academic Merit Award
1998 National School of the Arts. Final-year over-all trophies for Painting, Sculpture & Drawing.

Formal Education

(all obtained with distinction)

2006 – 2008   University of Cape Town. Master of Arts in Creative Writing.
2003 – 2004  University of South Africa. Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts.
2002  Rhodes University. BJourn TV Journalism.
1999 – 2002 Rhodes University, Grahamstown. Theatre and Media Studies. Study focus included dance, directing, photojournalism, writing, editing, documentary film.
1996 – 1998  National School of the Arts, Johannesburg.  Study focus on drawing, sculpture and painting.

Informal Education

1995 – 1998  First informal studies in growing own food and medicinal garden
2002  First engagement and remedial work with people living with AIDS, Grahamstown, South Africa.
2001 – 2012  Experiences with psychiatry and psychoactive prescription medication.  Medication-free since 2012. 
2005  First life writing & drawing workshop facilitation
2005  Return to informal community dance practice
2006  Focused engagement with people living with AIDS, Cape Town, South Africa
2006 – 2007  Informal study of trauma psychology, mindfulness based cognitive therapy & dialectical behaviour therapy
2011  Meetings with international environmental activists, COP17, Durban, South Africa
2012  Informal study of trauma release exercises (TRE)