Günther Förg - Untitled
Acrylic on canvas. 195 x 230 cm. Signed and dated 'Förg 07'.
Trembling, unsymmetrically distributed grids set in vibration in endless rows of painterly structures occupy the pictorial space; the entire canvas surface is covered except for a narrow margin, or more precisely: it is expertly exploited by Günther Förg! The white of the canvas remains visible through the grid structures; it forms the ground, the background for a trellis of deliciously shaped freedom. Self-assertive and challenging! Gestural traces, as is the case here, in the form of a grid in informal independence, follow a principle, a pattern with an abstract order that he constantly rethinks.
These and other serial structures are created in the 'greatest possible unintentionality' from a juxtaposition reminiscent of handwriting which is typical for Förg (Max Wechsler, Schauen, ob es was zu sehen gibt, in: Günther Förg, Felder - Ränder, Milan 2007, p.71): an in-depth examination of the phenomena of grids, stripes, discs, and other networks of simple shapes, painted horizontally and vertically on a surface in presumably brisk movements in acrylic, Förg's preferred painting material.
In an interview by art historian Siegfried Gohr with Günther Förg, the artist gives an insight into his methods: 'I always begin with the lightest colour, which is pragmatic on the one hand, but also produces certain effects. For the subsequent colour, green for example, I simply don't wash out the brush, so I add a certain diversity to the tone of colour. Because mixed tones are still present, so that no pure colours can develop. Four colours are suitable for a painting's palette. One proceeds from green to black, and in this way brown parts appear and somehow the brush is soaked in black. Then one takes red and this also produces a murky red, one increases the red, making it clearer, and thus the nuance is achieved.' (Günther Förg in conversation with Siegfried Gohr, in: Kunst Heute, 1997, no.18, p.31, reprinted in exhib.cat.: Who's Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue? Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 2007, pp.56 and 58).
At the beginning of the 1990s, the first grid pictures were created... open, fast, hasty, on both dark and light grounds, stage-like scenically presented in the foreground of a virtual space.
The observer gets entangled in the architecturally seeming grids in search of stability and order in the remains of a pretended imagery. He may associate mural painting, brochure-like stage decoration with mural-like structures, in which large-format windows and grids are assessable and quickly ascertainable in the ornamental repetition. Förg's mostly intended deceptive effect begs the question of the existence of a representative image. One answer could be: absolutely perfect colour selection and ingenious alteration of well-known signs in the body of the picture. Or as Siegfried Gohr once aptly stated: 'Förg uses the vocabulary of modernism like opportunities from the typecase of forms, which find a new place in his work.' (Siegfried Gohr, Eine Annäherung an Günther Förg und sein Werk, in: exhib.cat.: Leiko Ikemura, Günther Förg, Zwischenräume, Langen Foundation, 2007, p.64).
We would like to thank Michael Neff from the Estate Günther Förg for the kind confirmation of the work’s authenticity.
Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia
Cologne 2007 (Fuhrwerkswaage Kunstraum), Günther Förg, passage, exhib.cat., n.pag. with colour illus. and exhibition view