Imi Knoebel - Untitled
Acrylic on plywood, partly scratched, in 4 parts. Each 204 x 105 cm. Overall size 204 x 420 cm. Signed and dated 'Imi 85'. Signed and dated 'Imi 85' verso on wood and consecutively inscribed '1' to '4'. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.
Imi Knoebel designed his first extensive presence with rigorous and austere 'line paintings' on hardboard. At the end of the 1960s, Imi Knoebel further defined the clear, geometric treasure trove of forms in black and white by condensing the line to a black or white square, to a black and white cross, to a red rhombus, rectangle, or polygon. He reconsiders the stringency of the detached use of raw, unpainted hardboard panels built into cubes and other minimalist forms and accentuated with roof battens and stretcher frames into sculptural spatial bodies, matured into 'specific objects' (Donald Judd), such as 'Raum 19' in 1968/87 or the 'Genter Raum' in 1980, by means of lacquered colour surfaces.
All the more astonishing is the artist's outburst into expansive, multi-part work complexes, which Knoebel romantically titled 'Eigentum Himmelreich' [Property of the Kingdom of Heaven]: scrap metal, used sheet metal, and old pipes bound together with wire make serious reference to stacked plastic structures. Numerous drawings of fine and surging lines of expressive gesticulations also serve the artist as a preparation for a free, intense gesture: the strict order of flawless surface treatment celebrated to date yields to the wilful chaos of prosaic constructiveness.
Interim images, as Imi Knoebel calls them, are pictures that are not subject to any pronounced serial elaboration and are used as a free space in the development of further steps, as in the case of the few square format pictures marked 'Summer 84' of quickly executed, violently applied brush strokes; a crisscross of blurred, thinly applied painting on scored, scratched, and pierced fibreboard. These initial painterly outbursts were followed by a few works such as this one from 1985, in which the artist arranged a row of four panels to achieve a horizontal format, which he expressively ascribed to his 'Betrachtung 84' [Observation 84]: an accentuated intensification of informal, almost aggressive brushstrokes on unprimed hardboard 'maltreated' with scratches and scoring. A few years later, this emotionally colourful and strongly physical presentation experiences an additionally theatrical exaggeration in the monochrome black 'Schlachtenbildern' [Battle Pictures]: dramatic traces of scraping and drilling, distributed over the surface of the wooden panel, allowing a view into the space behind, seem like a reminiscence of Lucio Fontana, whose incision with a knife into the monochrome canvas helps the picture carrier of traditional painting to achieve an autonomous form of expression.
Corporate Collection, Rhineland