Imi Knoebel
Rosa Ort


March 5, 2014

Imi Knoebel
Rosa Ort

8 March–26 April 2014

Opening: 8 March, 6–9pm; the artist will be attending

Brüderstr. 10
D-10178 Berlin
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm

gallery [​at​]

The German artist Imi Knoebel creates painting-objects made of hard fibre or aluminium that seem to hover before the wall in freely contoured geometrical forms. Radically non-representational and reduced to the artistic principles of form and colour, his paintings nevertheless have a sensual effect. In large formats, the flat wall-sculptures possess a monumental presence whilst simultaneously hovering weightlessly.

In his new work cycle that will be shown at Kewenig from 8 March, Imi Knoebel transposes characteristics of his artistic creativity into a new formal language. He paints aluminium plates in various forms with acrylic paint, each in a single colour, and joins them together into a plane through shadow-joins. In the work 19.09.2013, named after the day on which it was made, an opaque black ring forms a strongly contrasting counterweight to the reserved volume of a white polygon. Forms approximating an irregular square correspond with the angular oval that belongs to Imi Knoebel’s striking vocabulary of forms, following the cycle of Kartoffelbilder from 2011. The delicately coloured, overlapping combinations are balanced by powerful accents of smaller, coloured polygons, for instance, in red or yellow. The work Ort – Rosa from 2013, to which the exhibition’s title refers, shows how Knoebel deals with space, being prepared by the key works, Raum 19 from 1968 and Genter Raum from 1979–1980. Ort – Rosa is a three-dimensional spatial formation consisting of two coloured walls adjoined at right-angles. You can really ‘walk into’ the colour employed as a means of artistically forming Ort – Rosa, which is thus removed from the two-dimensional flatness of painting.

Imi Knoebel’s masterly incisiveness grows out of a meticulous and, so to speak, joyful work process. He mixes colours, applies them to paper and makes models which he checks for visual effects. On the final aluminium subjectile, a powerful brushstroke remains in the colour, recognizable as a painterly moment.

Born as Klaus Wolf Knoebel in Dessau in 1940, Knoebel’s artistic career began with studies at the Darmstadt Arts and Crafts School. Together with his friend, Raimund Giese, in 1964 he switched to Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Art Academy.

Under the pseudonym Imi & Imi, Knoebel and Giese manifested in their own room, Room 19, their artistic identity from a purist, experimental stance diametrically opposed to Beuys’ aesthetics. In the midst of stylistic pluralism of the 1960s, he found his own way of artistically creating among the inspirational sources of ideologically charged suprematism, minimal art and abstract expressionism. As one of the German post-war generation’s most important artists, Imi Knoebel represents a radically non-representational, constructivist approach.

From Imi Knoebel’s international exhibition activity, at first his participation at the documenta 5, 6, 7 and 8 from 1972 to 1987 should be mentioned. A large retrospective, 1968–1996, was shown between 1996 and 1997 at the Munich Haus der Kunst, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (Netherlands), the IVAM Centre del Carme in Valencia (Spain), and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and at the Musée de Grenoble (France). In 2006 the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen exhibited works from 1966 to 2006. At the Dia Art Foundation (Dia:Beacon) since 2008, the work 24 Colors – for Blinky has been permanently installed. The Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin showed emblematic installations in 2009. In 2011 Imi Knoebel designed six church windows for one of the most important buildings of French High Gothic, the cathedral Notre Dame de Reims. The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg will be opening a comprehensive solo exhibition in October. Apart from that, the artist is represented worldwide in private and public collections.

Imi Knoebel lives in Düsseldorf.