Günther Förg

Date/place of birth

December 5, 1952, Füssen

Day/place of death

December 5, 2013, Freiburg

Günther Förg - Untitled
Günther Förg - Untitled

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Günther Förg biography

Günther Förg considered art to be encompassing: The German sculptor, painter and photo artist coordinated his pictures with the surrounding architecture. He did not wish tell a story, but to make structures and references visible. In doing so he succeeded in clothing complex dimensions in simple forms, in avoiding repetition, and in reinventing himself again and again. 

Günther Förg – Focus on abstract painting; early exhibition successes

Günther Förg was born in Füssen in Allgäu on 5 December 1952. The study of art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich from 1973 to 1979 brought him into contact primarily with abstract painting under the influence of the convinced informal painter Karl Friedrich Dahmen. Although the abstract idiom took a dominant position in the artistic life of Günther Förg, figurative representation still occasionally found its place. As much as he appreciated some figurative artists such as Eugène Leroy, he himself had little inclination in telling a story with his works. Rather, he found more resonance with the image as a suggestively sensual experience. Förg’s first solo exhibition in the Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle in Munich took place soon after his studies, and further national and international exhibitions followed – one highlight being documenta IX in Kassel in 1992.

Architecture as formative element of art

Günther Förg was greatly interested in architecture and regularly incorporated architectonic elements in his artistic creations. The surrounding architecture also played an important role in the presentation of his pictures. The artist followed an expansive concept that brought image and architecture into a fruitful and sometimes sensational dialogue. As a photo artist, he paid particular attention to Italian Rationalism and Modernism of the 20th century. Various buildings in the characteristic Bauhaus style in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were the subject of his work, as was the IG Farben Haus in Frankfurt am Main. In the 1990s, Förg moved increasingly towards American Minimal Art, which he interpreted however in his own way with a pointed, dry, and unembellished style. His pictures reached an ever larger, wall and room-filling format comprised at the same time of simple, seemingly thrown lines and surfaces in rudimentary colouring. The supposedly incomplete revealed itself as a symbiosis of architecture and nature, offering the eye both the clear geometric structures of a planned building and the lively diversity of a grown landscape. With his pictures, Günther Förg could open and close spaces, open up the view of an undiscovered expanse or hermetically close off and seal a pathway: a skilful play with the perception of his audience. 

International recognition and serious illness

Günther Förg took on teaching positions at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. As well as large format paintings, he produced sculptures in similar dimensions including the 1994 monumental work Tor und Steele in Rotterdam. Günther Förg received prizes and awards for his art such as the Wolfgang Hahn Prize Cologne in 1996 and the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon in 2003. The last years of his life were overshadowed by a stroke and cancer, health problems which increasingly hindered Förg from continuing his artistic work with his usual intensity.

Günther Förg died on 5 December 2013 in Freiburg am Breisgau on his 61st birthday.

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Günther Förg Prices

Günther FörgUntitled€630.000
Günther FörgUntitled€396.800
Günther FörgUntitled€297.600
Günther FörgUntitled€248.000
Günther FörgUntitled€198.400
Günther FörgUntitled€67.500

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