Imi Knoebel: Raum 19, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, 1968

Imi Knoebel
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from: 23.05.2009 to: 09.08.2009

Neue Nationalgalerie

The German artist Imi Knoebel (born 1940) ranks as one of the most internationally renowned abstract artists. Ever since his earliest works in the nineteen-sixties and in his subsequent pictures and installations, Knoebel treads a fine line between the realms of painting and sculpture. Upon request by the curator, Eugen Blume, Imi Knoebel has now developed an exhibition for the upper hall of the New National Gallery which, by way of a few exceptional works, affords us a retrospective view of his diverse body of work.

The starting point for the exhibition is the famous 'Room 19' from 1968 - a large installation in four parts made of wood, in which Knoebel first introduced a core principle of his work: the principle of layering individual elements which then combine in ever new variations, in pictures and spatial compositions. Leading on from this early key work, the exhibition traces the artist's life through individual works of the 70s and 80s, such as the documenta piece or the installation entitled '250 000 Drawings', all the way up to the radiant colour pictures and colour forms of his current creations.

The exhibition does not have a rigid structure imposed on it, but is instead conceived of as an open venue for works either standing or hanging freely within the space. The spacial character of the exhibition thus interacts with the unique architecture of Mies van der Rohe and in the process opens complex perspectives both to the works themselves and to the way they each respectively handle the space. The exhibition 'Imi Knoebel' honours an artistic figure from the Rheinland, someone who is of great importance both nationally and internationally and yet whose work has hardly ever been given the space it deserves in Berlin until now.

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