Karin Sander studied at the Freie Kunstschule (Free Art School) and the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste (State Academy of Art) in Stuttgart from 1979 to 1987. In 1989/1990, she received a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to go to New York, where she attended the International Study/Studio Program (ISP) of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Since then, she has received many grants and awards, most recently the Rome Prize from the Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo (German Academy in Rome) in 2015.
Karin Sander has been a guest professor at several schools, including the Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Karlsruhe, the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, and CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in Los Angeles. In 1999, she became a professor at the Kunsthochschule (School of Art) in Berlin-Weissensee, and she has been the chair of architecture and art at the ETH Zurich since 2007.
Karin Sander is known for her pointedly conceptual works, like drawings with applied office materials, polished chicken’s eggs (Hühnereier), polished wall pieces, Patina Paintings, Mailed Paintings, figurative sculptures of living persons on a scale of 1:5, 1:7,7 or 1:10, Kitchen Pieces and others. She alters the state of things that are already there, be they objects or rooms. In small interventions into the situation, she exposes its material conditions to establish a minimal difference between everyday life and art.
The artist Karin Sander is fundamentally interested in the poetry of latency inherent in existing objects. Revealing what things might be, or could become, is a genuinely artistic strategy for investigating and working with situations, spaces, and objects that defines a key modus operandi in her works. She always carves another aspect that has usually been overlooked out of existing reality. In other words, she confronts common notions of what is reality with an alternative reality.” (Harald Welzer)
Selected solo exhibitions: Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany (2013); Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany (2012); n.b.k., Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany (2011); K20 Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, Germany (2010); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland (2010); Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2003); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany (2002); The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, New York (1994); Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (1992)
Her works can be found in renowned museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Metropolitain Museum, New York City; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; National Museum, Osaka, Japan; Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany; Sprengel-Museum, Hanover, Germany; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Karin Sander3-D Bodyscans der originalen Personen im Maßstab 1:10. Einführung: Dietmar Glatz, Glatz Engineering, Olpe, Deutschland, und Dr. Rainer Fuchs, Vizedirektor Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien