Marguerite Kahrl

photo ©Elisabetta Zavoli

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, 1966. Lives and works in Chiaverano, Italy

Always engaged on the front of activism, Marguerite’s art-making is process-oriented and takes into account her context and audience. Influenced by permaculture, a philosophy of landscape design and management that mimics the resilience, richness and balance of natural ecosystems, she promotes a change of attitude towards complex cultural models. Cofounder of Permaculture for Refugees (P4R) and the Italian Association Con MOI, she is experienced in strengthening social and human bonds with refugees through participatory workshops and activities. Kahrl stimulates responses to cultural changes using models, tools and relational objects.

She received her BA in English Literature and her BFA in Sculpture and Ceramics at the University of Colorado Boulder and Camberwell College of the Arts in London. She received her master’s degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. In recognition of her pioneering work in Permaculture and the Arts, Kahrl received a Diploma of Merit from the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute in Australia.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at La Triennale di Milano 999: A collection of Questions on Contemporary Living (curated by Stefano Mirti, Milan 2018), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Villa Croce (curated by Ilaria Bonacossa & Marco Scotini, Genova 2016) Parco Arte Vivente with Marjetica Potrč (curated by Marco Scotini, Turin 2016) University of Nottingham and HKE Art Museum, Ningbo, China 2014, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea (Turin, Italy 2005, 2014), Manifesta 9 in the Parallel Events program (Vennestraat: Hidden Places and Identities, curated by Michela Sacchetto and Francesca Berardi, Genk, Belgium, 2012), and in shows at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (with Marjetica Potrč, Venice, 2010), the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (curated by Anne Marie Russel, Tucson, Arizona, 2010), the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (curated by Lucy Lippard, Boulder, Colorado, 2007), the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art (Portland, Maine, 2004), and the New House Center for Contemporary Art (curated by Olivia Giorgia, Staten Island, New York, 2001).


“ Kahrl’s body of work is a multilayered expression of her thoughts and observations on the relationship between technology, the environment, and the humans who inhabit it.”

Sarah Schuster, Living Green: Examining Sustainability. Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, 2004

Despite the success of her Noble Savage sculpture, these (drawings) confirm that the practice of drawing takes a central position in the artist’s eclectic work. Marguerite Kahrl is endowed with a refined and assured technique, which serves not as a means to represent but to speculate. Her drawings are drafts of unconcluded thought systems, diagramming complexity. The familiarity which the artist has with new media, having collaborated with the now defunct Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, leads one to believe that more than texts, these are hypertexts, shared with a complex animation in flash, bright colors, and stratified on many levels. It is often difficult to understand these micro-systems in the crossing of writing, sketches, drawings and diagrams…The sense of Gatekeeper is dominated by a migration of geese, combined with quote from Leviticus, “the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them” scribbled in the margin. While Apollo at Night. Which opens the exhibition seems to close in on a grand maneuver of power, evoked by armored tanks marching in file, crowds of Chinese and antiquated symbols of power. All the rest the artist records with lightness and thoughtfulness, distinctive traits of all of the work of this eccentric American who has emigrated to Canavese.

Quaranta, Domenico (translated from Italian) “Marguerite Kahrl – Noble Savages”, Exibart on Paper, Florence, November/December 2005, p 40