Alain Kirili is a French American sculptor of verticality and modeling. His work emphasizes an “aesthetics of spontaneity” and seeks its formal unity through the variety of materials he employs in a quest for “organic simplicity.” He has worked on the monumental aspects of sculpture in public spaces (at the campus of the University of Bourgogne in Dijon, in Paris and Grenoble). Alain Kirili was commissioned by the Ministère de la Culture to install the sculpture of the 20th century in the Tuileries in Paris.



Alain presents his sculpture Ascension at the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts.

Sculptures by Alain Kirili in "Rodin: The Centennial Exhibition", at the Grand Palais in Paris, France.
Exhibition "Articulate" curated by David Cohen at Silas von Morisse gallery in Bushwick Brooklyn, NY.

Solo Exhibition "Alain Kirili" at Hionas Gallery in the Lower East Side New York, NY.

Alain Kirili and James Siena show "Linear Elements" at Art OMI International Arts Center in Ghent, New York.
Alain Kirili presents his work with painter Bobbie Oliver in the Lower East Side at the Hionas Gallery, New York.

Solo Exhibition at Terrazzo Art Projects in New York.
Exhibition “Parcours Croisés” of Alain Kirili and Ariane Lopez-Huici at the musée des beaux-arts de Caen.
Solo Exhibition at the Akira Ikeda gallery in Tokyo.
Solo Exhibition at la Cohue, musée de Vannes.

Solo Exhibition at the galerie Pièce Unique, Paris.

Solos Exhibitions at the Akira Ikeda Gallery in New York and Berlin.

A stay at the Hartung-Bergmann Foundation where he created his wire sculptures Aria followed by the exhibition «Kirili-Hartung» at the musée Picasso and at the Hartung-Bergmann Foundation in Antibes.

Exhibition/installation Rythmes d'Automne on the square in front of the l’Hôtel de Ville in Paris.

Published an article in Libération : « Pussy Riot, le retour des Guerillas Girls ».

Alain Kirili inaugurates his monumental sculpture "Résistance" in Grenoble; the sculpture is situated in a garden landscaped by Alexandre Chemetoff. At the same time, an exhibition of Kirili drawings opens at the Musée de Grenoble.

In July, Kirili opens a new installation of "Ascension" outside at the Abbé de Montmajour in Arles.

In September, in the gardens of the Musée de Caen, Kirili's sculpture "Geste de Résistance" is inaugurated and accompanied with "The Eye of Hitler", an essay by historian Robert Paxton.

Alain Kirili presents his drawing Forge in the collective exhibition "Works on Paper", among with the artists John Chamberlain, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, at the Danese Gallery in New York. The sculptor paints in red his new vertical forged pieces in his series of works Burning Bush, Adam I, II et III, and Zips. He develops with the same energy the series of drawings New York Incandescence made of black charcoal & red oil pastel on vellum.

Alain Kirili presents his work for a lecture with Paul-Louis Rinuy at l'INHA, Paris. The film "Alain Kirili, sculpteur de tous les éléments" directed by Sandra Paugam is screened for the first time at NYU, Paris.

He participates in several groups-shows : "Sculpture & Drawings" with Larry Bell, John Chamberlain, Mark di Suvero, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, at Danese, New York.

"Triple Play" curated by Lilly Wei, with John Duff & Ron Gorchov at the Lesley Heller Gallery, New York.

"NY Masters" with Ron Gorchov, Judy Pfaff, Alexander Ross, and Frank Stella, at the Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard, Paris ; and the dialogue exhibition "Sculpture by Alain Kirili and Painting by Frank Olt", curated by Elaine Berger, at Nassau County Museum of Art Contemporary Gallery, Roslyn Harbor, NY.

Invited by Philippe Piguet, he shows his sculpture Ascension III and his recent terra cotta Adamah at l'Abbaye de St Jean d'Orbestier, Château d'Olonne.

Solo exhibition in dialogue with the painter Ron Gorchov at the Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard, Paris

Alain Kirili takes part of the catalogue "Sol LeWitt 100 Views" from the MASS MoCa with his personal text "Sol LeWitt: A New Calligrapher".

In Paris, he's invited by l'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art to present the work of the french sculptor Etienne Martin. 

Mutablemusic produces the CD-DVD box-set Kirili et les Nymphéas - Hommage à Monet - Improvised music at the Musée de l'Orangerie, recorded during the concert at the Museum in 2007.

In Paris and New York, he creates the series of forged iron sculptures Equivalences, Uccello, Visitation, the terra cotta ensembles Adamah et Ivresse, and the sculpture Equivalences.

In New York, the Salander-O'Reilly galleries proposes an exhibition Kirili-Lachaisewith his sculptures In Extremis and Nataraja

A selection of his writings and interviews, Mémoires de sculpteur, is published by the edition of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, of Paris.

The Musée de l'Orangerie invites him to exhibit his sculptures and drawings, in dialogue with les Nymphéas from Claude Monet. For this exhibition Kirili et les Nymphéas, he creates his first monumental Commandement made in colored concrete.

His monumental sculpture in pierre de Bourgogne, Hommage à Charlie Parker, is inaugurated Espace Massena, in Paris.

The radio France Culture’s “A voix nue” is dedicated to Alain Kirili with one week of interviews with Thierry Dufresne.

In January, Musée D'Orsay, Paris :  in the exhibition "Correspondances" series curated by Serge Lemoine, Alain Kirili creates a dialogue between his sculpture, A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Sculpture, and Edward Steichen's photographs of Rodin's Balzac.   The sculpture is here shown in front of Gustave Courbet's painting, Origin of the World.

In April, invited by the Ministery of Culture to exhibit Segou and Totems at the Jardin du Palais-Royal (Paris).

A concert "Jazz & Sculpture" featuring Joseph Jarman, Thomas Buckner, Dalila Khatir and Jérôme Bourdellon is organised at the Theatre of Palais-Royal.

In February, he returns to Senegal where he forges new iron sculptures. Travels to Beirut for first attempt to visit and work at an aluminum factory. 

Exhibition at the New York Studio School with a concert featuring Alvin Lucier, Daniel Carter, Leroy jenkins, Thomas Buckner.

Invited by Kosme de Baranano, director of IVAM, to exhibit in dialogue with works of Julio Gonzalez at IVAM Valencia.  The resulting exhibition is “Alain Kirili Homenaje a Julio Gonzalez”

In March and April, Kirili curates the first-ever exhibition of David Smith drawings at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  During the summer, travels to Mali to forge his Segou series.

Dialogic exhibition with the works of Carpeaux at the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes, celebrating 30 years of Kirili’s modeled clays. 

Reinstallation of the commissioned work “Ascension” in the Abbaye de Montmajour, Provence.

Develops flesh-colored terra cotta pieces Clemence in a new spirit of serenity and experiments with polychrome waxes as a sculptural material.

The Musee de Grenoble puts on a major retrospective of Kirili’s work since 1980.

Publishes Celebrations (Paris:  Christian Bourgois, 1997), a book documenting his jazz/sculptural collaborations with Cecil Taylor, Steve Lacy, Roy Haynes, Billy Bang, Archie Shepp, Sunny Murray, and others.

In Paris, the Ministry of Culture inaugurates Kirili’s Commandement in the Tuileries Garden for a second time and commissioned him to install a selection of modern and contemporary sculptures of the 20th century.


Creation of Ariane Lopez-Huici film and dance named “Toak” around Alain Kirili’s sculpture. Directed by Chrystel Egal with music improvised by William Parker.

Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy performs inside Kirili’s King sculpture at New York’s Thread Waxing Space.

Exhibition at Saint-Etienne Museum of Modern Art.


Exhibition at gallery Daniel Templon in Paris.

Publishes a book on Rodin’s erotic drawings (Rodin: dessins érotiques [Gallimard]) and pursues an immediate, fundamental relation with Rodin’s sense of eroticism.

Kirili’s ensemble of forged welded-steel elements Grand Commandement Blanc opens in Paris at the Tuileries Garden. 

In New York, discovers the possibility of forging aluminum.  This innovation leads to the development of his series of Kings and to the ensemble Oratorio.  Publishes Statuaire (Paris, Denoel, 1986), a volume of essays and interviews on sculpture.

Exhibition at the Musee Rodin in Paris.

MOMA acquires Kirili’s forged-iron scupture Cortege

Sculpts his first monumental bronze, Grande nudité.

Begins teaching theory and practice of sculpture at the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

Moves into a loft on White Street across the street from Barnett Newman’s.  Creates the first of his Commandement series. 

Returns to India and photographs the Yoni-Lingam liturgy in a temple at Tanjore (Thanjavur). Continues to divide his time between Paris and New York.

In May, Kirili speaks on “Ecstasy in Baroque Sculpture” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art to mark the museum’s first acquisition of his work, the sculpture Indian Curve.

First trip to India generates tremendous interest and enthusiasm. Photographs Yoni-Lingam sculptures.  Discovers technical possibility of firing solid clay, creating terra cotta with iron inclusions. This bold turn becomes the first of the artist’s significant technical innovations. 

First one-man show at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York.  

His work appears for the first time in Documenta 6 in Kassel.  Meets photographer Ariane Lopez-Huici; the two marry in October.

After several stays in New York as part of studio exchanges, Kirili has a one-man show at the Clocktower and another group show at John Weber Gallery. 

His work is included in the inaugural show at PS1

Meets Robert Morris and Robert Ryman.

Begins research on iron forging in Tyrol, working with craftsman Florian Unterrainer.

Exhibits first sculpture, a sheet of cold-cut zinc, at the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris. 

Kirili’s work will continue to appear regularly at this gallery in both Paris and New York. 

Meets Robert Rauschenberg, who invites him to New York.  Produces his first abstract modeling, an unfired clay pierced with a thin steel plate.

Meets Philippe Sollers and Julia Kristeva, leading figures in the avant-garde Tel Quel group, and begins a long-term association with the Tel Quel circle.

Kirili discovers the work of David Smith and travels to the United States for the first time, studying European and American art in major museum collections in New York, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit.

Alain Kirili born in Paris, 29 August, 1946.