Deutsche Guggenheim


23 May - 26 Jun 2009

Imi Knoebel
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009
Every year, the Deutsche Guggenheim presents one exhibition organized by Deutsche Bank. In 2009, this presentation showcases the multilayered work of Imi Knoebel. Born 1940 in Dessau and living in Düsseldorf, Knoebel belongs to the select group of artists whose career the Deutsche Bank Collection has followed closely since 25 years. A student of Joseph Beuys, Knoebel has collaborated with many artists of his generation, always affirming his unique position. His inquiry into the basic principles of form and color seems more relevant today than ever, especially in view of the current revival of 1960s and 1970s abstract art among younger artists.

The exhibition is a play in two acts. The first consists of paintings from the period 2005–2009. Titled ICH NICHT (not me), it formulates an emphatic answer to Barnett Newman’s question Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? The paintings, mostly large-scale, evidence the artist’s adept handling of primary colors. While inviting visual contemplation, they can overwhelm the viewer with their riveting presence.

ENDUROS, the second act of the show, gives an overview of Knoebel’s work between 1968 and 2005, covering the whole spectrum of his non-objective vocabulary of forms. Knoebels early experimentation with forms and materials such as red anti-rust paint, “immaterial” light projections and gestural abstractions is especially well documented in his works on paper. Approximately 200 collages, drawings, photographs and prints from the Deutsche Bank Collection allow a comprehensive assessment of Knoebel’s artistic development. These works pay tribute to a medium that has always been the focus of the Deutsche Bank’s engagement in the visual arts: paper.

With more than 56,000 works of art, the Deutsche Bank Collection is considered the world’s most important collection of drawings and photographs after 1945. Since its first purchase in 1984, the collection has acquired more than 1000 works on paper by Imi Knoebel. He now joins a line of artists such as Georg Baselitz, Neo Rauch, Richard Artschwager, Kara Walker and Cai Guo-Qiang, for whom Deutsche Bank has organized solo exhibitions in its gallery at Unter den Linden.
The monographic catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibition contains more than 300 illustrations and essays by Hubertus Butin, Jörg Heiser, Friedhelm Hütte, David Moos, Petra Richter, Martin Schulz and Johannes Stüttgen. Two special editions conceived for the show at the Deutsche Guggenheim are also available (all proceeds will be donated to the charity Kinderstern e.V.).

The exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim was realized in close cooperation with the artist and with the Neue Nationalgalerie, where Knoebels installation Zu Hilfe, zu Hilfe... will be on view.

Tags: Richard Artschwager, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jörg Heiser, Imi Knoebel, Barnett Newman, Wu Qiang, Neo Rauch, Kara Walker