GÜNTHER FÖRG

German artist Günther Förg (1952-2013) is known for his geometric abstract paintings and for his photographs, especially of the emblematic architectures of Modernism. However, the pictorial gesture and the human figure also played a role in his work, whether in painting, photography or even in the few sculptures he made during his career. As a young artist with a degree from Munich’s Kunstakademie, Förg was influenced by the works of Blinky Palermo, Cy Twombly and the American ‘Colour Field’ painters. 

Città Universitaria

Günther Förg
Città Universitaria, 1985
Black & white photographs
180 x 120 cm each
Collection Mudam Luxembourg
Apport FOCUNA
Acquisitions 1997
© Photos: galerie Bärbel Grässlin

Untitled n° 41/92

Günther Förg
Untitled n° 41/92, 1992
Acrylic on plumb sheet mounted on wood
180 x 110 cm
Apport FOCUNA
Acquisition 1997
Collection Mudam Luxembourg
© Photo: galerie Bärbel Grässlin

Whether with his series of grey paintings, of which he produced one a week for three years from 1973 to 1976, or the mural paintings whose 96 pieces he made between 1980 and 1994, his approach to painting was definitely conceptual and systematised. Experimenting with various supports while working on his grey paintings, he discovered lead towards the end of the 1970s, making several large-format series on that heavy material laden with strong symbolic meaning.

Untitled n° 48/92

Günther Förg
Untitled n° 48/92, 1992
Acrylic on plumb sheet mounted on wood
180 x 110 cm
Apport FOCUNA
Acquisition 1997
Collection Mudam Luxembourg
© Photo: galerie Bärbel Grässlin

For five years starting in 1992, Förg taught art at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe, during which time he put forward a critical response to the American abstract paintings of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Thus, his coloured geometric flat paintings, of which a great number were painted on lead sheet, question the symbolic overload of the works by the American painters, who were striving to reach the ‘sublime’ in their art. Förg emphasised not only the materiality of colour and the support, but also questioned the notions of singularity and technical accomplishment through the visible traces of an explicitly imperfect execution.