The work of Imi Knoebel (*1940) spans more than five decades. An outstanding representative of resolutely non-objective painting, Knoebel’s goal from the beginning has been to break the genre’s boundaries and conquer space. He studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in the class of Joseph Beuys and—together with Rainer Giese—earned the right to use the legendary Room 19, which became an experimentation space for the two young artists.
Another important reference for Knoebel was a fellow student in Beuys’ class, Blinky Palermo, a colorist. After Palermo’s untimely death, Knoebel—who until then had worked mainly in black and white—adopted Palermo’s legacy and began to employ color. His first colored works were the hard-fiber paintings executed in red lead, a rust-proofing agent. By 1977, however, he was using the entire palette.
The Sammlung Goetz, which includes nearly 40 works by the artist from five decades, is honoring the “young-at-heart old master of radically non-objective painting” with a retrospective exhibition. The show was organized in close collaboration with Imi Knoebel and his wife Carmen. A chronological or thematic presentation was intentionally rejected. Instead, the presentation focuses on cross-references that reveal formal and thematic connections within Knoebel’s artistic oeuvre.
Knoebel’s passion for experimentation has been a constant companion. This is evident not only in his enormous variety of different color combinations, but also in the artist’s use of different materials. The exhibition includes, for example, paintings on hardboard, plywood and aluminum, as well as objects made of cast concrete.
Curator: Karsten Löckemann
Curatorial assistant: Pietro Tondello