Acrylic on canvas
165 x 195 cm / 65 x 76 3/4 in
One of the most significant German artists of the postwar generation, Günther Förg is renowned for his experimental oeuvre. In his pioneering cross-disciplinary practice, Förg explored the language of abstraction, appropriating tropes borrowed from modern art and architecture. A particularly arresting example from his renowned series of ‘Gitterbilder’ (‘Grid Paintings’), ‘Untitled’ (2006) traces both the artist’s dynamic, painterly gestures, as well as the influence of a number of artists Förg held in particularly high regard, such as Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh.
Using colors and paints of varying opacity to build up his lattice of horizontal and vertical lines, Förg created enthralling compositions that recall architectural structures. Along the lower edge of ‘Untitled’ bright orange brushstrokes are juxtaposed with stark black, irregular lines that grow upwards across areas of grey and myriad shades of green, challenging perceptions of illusionistic depth and figure-ground relationships. ‘Untitled’ exemplifies Förg’s radical engagement with his predecessors’ work. Rather than copying another artist’s gesture, Förg explores specific elements, abstracting and pushing them to the limits.
Günther Förg was born in 1952 in the region of Allgäu, Germany. His career began in the early 1970s as student at The Academy of Fine Art Munich. During his studies, Förg developed a practice grounded almost exclusively in grey and black monochrome. These early investigations into gray – also called ‘Gitter’ paintings – demonstrate the beginning of a lifelong commitment to conceptualism. As he stated, ‘Grey is nothing: not white, not black. Something in between. Not concerned with the figure. Something free.’ While the artist later incorporated color into his monochrome series, his use of gray represents a neutral foundation from which he conceived his oeuvre.
© Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy the Estate