Thomas Kilpper


Stuttgart, Germany, 1956. Lives and works in Berlin. Kilpper studied Fine Arts at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Nuernberg, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. In 2000, he created a monumental woodcut and installation at the Orbit House in London, entitled The Ring. Kilpper is internationally renowned for his use of architectural scale woodcut methods to transform historical buildings and spaces.

About Kilpper's work

Thomas Kilpper has, throughout his career, engaged history and the public sphere with artistic interventions that reveal hidden or obscured political and social significances. He works with local neighborhoods and people’s stories, using his research to create a picture of a history more complicated than official lines. He conceives his works as installation or performance to develop the large-scale visibility that provokes public dialogue. With many of his print projects, his carving in situ is a model of literal resistance; Kilpper works with teams of assistants, using heavy tools to coax images from wood and then making very large prints that achieve this public scale. His work expands political dialogue, not only to include previously excluded voices at a local level but also to integrate these stories into an international history of resistance and work for justice.

Project description

State of Control, 2009
Using a floor at the former GDR Ministry for State Security (MfS), accessible to the public for the first time, Kilpper carved a matrix for a print that reveals a history of surveillance in East Germany from the Nazi period to the digital present. The resulting print, the largest in the world at more than 1000 square feet, presents a history of the two German states in portraits, dramatic scenes and texts and provides a portrait of resistance to systematized injustice.


State of Control, 2009
Carved linoleum floor of the former Stasi headquarters, Berlin. Linocuts on paper.

State of Control—Out of Control, 2009
Video documentation

Installation images by Greenhouse Media

More Info

On view at Temple Gallery
2001 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 782-2870