Overview

The exhibition love child presents new works by German artist Imi Knoebel, bringing together a series of paintings of varying sizes that are characterised by a striking colourfulness and unique, irregular shapes. Continuing the artist’s preoccupation with form and his exploration of the fundamentals of painting and sculpture, the works veer between the two artistic categories, combining aspects of both. Defined by their abstract configurations and unconventional tones, Knoebel’s most recent works continue to reflect on the legacies of Suprematism, Minimal Art and Colour Field painting.

Two large-scale Figura-paintings will be on view alongside a group of works from his latest Love Child series. Irregularly and at times wildly shaped, some forms are reminiscent of squares while others feature fewer or no ridges and angles. While the majority of the works in the exhibition are hung ​​on the wall, a series of Standing Paintings rest on the floor and thus inherently challenge the relationship between painting, space and the viewer – a fundamental question that runs like a golden thread through Knoebel’s practice.

The exhibition love child presents new works by German artist Imi Knoebel, bringing together a series of paintings of varying sizes that are characterised by a striking colourfulness and unique, irregular shapes. Continuing the artist’s preoccupation with form and his exploration of the fundamentals of painting and sculpture, the works veer between the two artistic categories, combining aspects of both. Defined by their abstract configurations and unconventional tones, Knoebel’s most recent works continue to reflect on the legacies of Suprematism, Minimal Art and Colour Field painting.

Two large-scale Figura-paintings will be on view alongside a group of works from his latest Love Child series. Irregularly and at times wildly shaped, some forms are reminiscent of squares while others feature fewer or no ridges and angles. While the majority of the works in the exhibition are hung ​​on the wall, a series of Standing Paintings rest on the floor and thus inherently challenge the relationship between painting, space and the viewer – a fundamental question that runs like a golden thread through Knoebel’s practice.

The shapes seem to oscillate with a dynamic that appears to bring them to life, but it is also their chromaticity that lends them their final form. The darker works appear heavier and ponderous, while lighter hues give others a levitating, buoyant sensation. Following his early purist line paintings, light projections and white paintings, Knoebel first introduced colour into his works in the mid-seventies, partly informed by his close friend Blinky Palermo, whom Knoebel has described as ‘the master of colours.’ After Palermo’s untimely death in 1977, Knoebel paid tribute to his former classmate in his 24 Colours for Blinky series, for which he engaged with a full palette for the first time. Originally determined by a systematic approach, colour has since become a standard in his formal repertory and an increasing exuberance in his treatment of paint can be observed in his more recent practice.

The radiant colours appear almost detached from the picture plane, developing a life of their own. Their purpose lies not in the representation of a preconceived idea, but rather in their pure presence and the immediate effect on the viewer. These new works continue to reflect what Martin Schulz wrote about Imi Knoebel’s works at the end of the 1990s: ‘The viewer, who is not given any instructions, has to rely on his own sensual abilities. The viewer is confronted solely with the effects of pure form and colour, which can only be described subjectively. Knoebel’s monumental pictorial objects are virtually surrounded by an archaic mysteriousness. [...] It is a poetry of vacuousness which, in line with Malevich, appeals to pure sensations.’

The predominantly monochrome paintings are made from aluminium or copper panels, materials the artist has increasingly used since the 1990s. The varied pictorial polygons are mounted at a slight distance from the wall and often askew, reinforcing the sense of weightlessness. This expansion into the room further highlights their sculptural quality, which Knoebel counterbalances with animated surfaces that grant the works painterly characteristics, underscoring their pictorial aspects.

The artist’s application of acrylic paint remains visible and varies from flat brushstrokes that he drags lightly across the metal grounds to overt scribblings, from opaque to transparent, from matte to brilliant, revealing a richness of colour while highlighting Knoebel’s creative process. The distinct use of layers and textural structures creates space and vibrancy within the works, arriving at a fine balance between order and chaos, rigidity and freedom – a quality that can be traced through Knoebel’s œuvre.

 

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