Günther Förg

“Really, painting should be sexy. It should be sensual. These are things that will always escape the concept. I think painting is a resilient practice; if you look through the history of painting it doesn’t change so much and we always see it in the present. It is still now.”

After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Günther Förg (Füssen, Germany, 1952 - Freiburg, Germany, 2013) engaged with a variety of mediums and is considered both a minimal and abstract artist. He initially created monochrome canvases in black and grey before shifting his interest to photography, producing large-scale black and white images of culturally and politically noteworthy architectural sites, such as Bauhaus and Fascist buildings. At the end of the 1980s, he returned to painting and sculpture but experimented with new materials, ultimately blurring the distinction between the two. His bronze sculptures recall brushstrokes through indentations and marks, while in his lead paintings, he painted acrylic on a lead backing: "I like very much the qualities of lead - the surface, the heaviness. Some of the paintings were completely painted, and you only experience the lead at the edges; this gives the painting a very heavy feeling - it gives the color a different density and weight." These abstract paintings are a comment on the art historical canon through deliberately recalling Mark Rothko's color field paintings and Barnett Newman's "zips." Unlike the abstract expressionists' goal to speak to the transcendent through their fields of color, Förg desired to bring art away from the metaphysical: his paintings, with their objective materiality, are rooted in the here and now. At the end of his career he created "Window," "Grid," and "Spot" paintings, combining geometric precision with gestural freedom, revelatory that these two modes of abstraction are not mutually exclusive.