Artists are urban creatures, especially in youth, and they nearly always choose one metropolis in preference to every other—the grainy immediacies of New York, for example, or the refinements of Paris. Alain Kirili is perhaps the only artist of his generation to belong to the art worlds of both cities. Born in Paris, in 1946, he traveled to the United States for the first time in 1965. The object of his trip was to visit museums in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, and elsewhere. He showed his sculpture for the first time in 1972, at the Parisian branch of Ileana Sonnabend’s New York gallery. By 1976, he had exhibited at the Clocktower, in Manhattan, and two years later, he had a show at Sonnabend’s SoHo headquarters. As the new decade began, Kirili and his wife, the photographer Ariane Lopez-Huici, moved into a loft in Tribeca. They did not, however, give up their residence in Paris. For nearly three decades, they have divided their time between the two cities.
Nataraja, 2006. Forged Iron, view of work in Kirili's studio.