Monday, 18 June 2012

Unzipped Humanities (5): Imi Knoebel

Welcome to the collection of The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

This post is about Imi Knoebel, and geometries without discourse traceable in a non-objective world, where primary colours and eight hundred years of light and darkness, interchange.

Imi Knoebel photo (2010)

Note: While working in the Curatorial Department, The Bosa Bosa Review editor had the chance to contribute to the Japanese version of the "35th Anniversary: Allure of the Collection" printed Catalogue of The National Museum of Art, Osaka (April 2012). More about this in a previous post.

Imi Knoebel in the "The Allure of the Collection" Exhibition Catalogue
©The Bosa Bosa Review

"The Allure of the Collection" Exhibition
The National Museum of Art Osaka, April - June 2012

The Unzipped Humanities series in English:

Unzipped Humanities (1) - Marcel Broodthaers La signature. Serie 1. Tirage illimite (1969).
Unzipped Humanities (2) - Jorg Immendorff Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II) 1998.
Unzipped Humanities (3) - Jean-Pierre Raynaud Auto Portrait (1980).

Unzipped Humanities (4) - Miroslaw Balka φ51x4, 85x43x49(1998).

Welcome to the museum's collection:

Imi KNOEBEL   Grace Kelly  IV-5  (1990)

We have been working on Imi KNOEBEL's Grace Kelly IV-5 , for the collection catalogue.

colours surrounded by words

colours surrounded by emptiness


Imi Knoebel was born is Dessau, Germany. He lives and works in Düsseldorf. Note his newest exhibitions: at Tate Ives, exhibiting artist of “The Indiscipline of Painting” (2011-12) and at Albertina Museum Vienna (2011), exhibiting artist of “Albertina Contemporary- From Gerhard Richter to Kiki Smith”. He has recently been commissioned to create six stained-glass windows for the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims ( Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims, Krönungskirche von Reims), France, to celebrate the cathedral's impressive 800 years of architectural history.

Imi Knoebel,
Stained Glass Windows for the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims,
work in progress (2011)

uploaded on youtube on 29 June 2011 by ikonotv here

Imi Knoebel’s work deals with the relationship between space, picture support and colour, experimented through purist analytic series. He was a student of the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in the mid-sixties, and is known to have been taught by Joseph Beuys. The idea of reducing a painting to its elemental coordinates, as expressed by the Suprematist painter Kasimir Malevich reflects in his entire work. In his 1982 interview with Johannes Stuttgen, he does mention his encounter with Malevich’s text “The Non-objective World”.


Curatorial Night Beat @ The Bosa Bosa Review

There are 33  paintings in the Grace Kelly series, all of them revealing a larger central field framed by 2 horizontal and 2 vertical sections, and a chromatic variation between the 5 sections. The height is considerable: over 2.5 metres. ( We can confirm that the work is huge! )

Imi Knoebel’s work constructs a utopia: a painting wholly free of words, a painting daring to assume freedom of expression, an expression which should perhaps never get involved with definitions. But even though speechless, it implies a construction of the image, surfaces instead of lines, territories of colour, proportions, lengths. The patches of color in Grace Kelly have freedoms and limits. The colour on top always touches the outside on both sides. The colours on left and right have freedom in the lower part and are restricted in the upper part. The colour below is restricted both on the left and on the right. The five parts of the image are set off against each other not only by colour. They are separated by a joint, which allows a little space between the colour fields. A subtlety. A small opening between territories which only a ray of sunlight could pervade.

When a warm colour is being used in the Grace Kelly series, it gives the impression of an exit, of an openness towards something else. Among the 33 pictures from the 4 series Grace Kelly, there are only two images using a warm colour only on the bottom line: IV-5 and III-4. Unlike the other images, these two have a special visual impact, which we, non-objectively express as: no freedom to fly.

Useful English -Japanese glossary:

Imi Knoebel,  Grace Kelly IV-5  イミ・クネーベル 『グレース・ケリー(Ⅳ-5)』

Albertina アルベルティーナ美術館

Kasimir Malevich カシミール・マーレヴィッチ

Related links:

Christoph Schenker, Imi Knoebel: The Limits of Communicability, in Flash Art, Vol XXIV, No 161, November/December 1991, pp 103-107.

Imi Knoebel Exhibition at Mary Boone Gallery NY, review by Stephen Mueller in Art In America and review by John Yau in The Brooklyn Rail (2009)

Mary Boone Gallery website

Imi Knoebel's works at Volta8, in Basel, 2012.

© Volta Show 2012

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