A.R. Penck - Geben und Nehmen
Geben und Nehmen
Acrylic on canvas. 120 x 160 cm. Framed. Signed 'ar. penck'.
Letters and images within the picture dominate the large format "Geben und Nehmen"; also numerous stick figures operate assiduously and are interrelated by arrows pointing to each other. The artist has created a tableau that appears to recount creativity and bustle, its energy reaching across the entire picture plane.
By means of three primary colours on a white background, Penck created an emblematic world using a linear visual vocabulary typical of his work. A world that seems easily accessible, whose symbolism and references, however, are never clearly decipherable for the viewer. The artist developed what he called the Standart System in the 1960s as a universally comprehensible means of expression. Graphic symbols of prehistoric cultures such as primitive cave paintings and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics are combined with those of modern pictograms to create representations that are both archaic and humorous. They fill out the entire canvas in complete two-dimensionality and manage without perspective or centering. In addition to the narrative nature of the pictograms, an ornamental character is thus added that allows the viewer's gaze to wander constantly.
Galerie Michael Wener, Cologne (adhesive label verso); private collection, North Rhine Westphalia
Cologne 2005 (Galerie Michael Werner), Abstraktion als Methode neuer Bilder von A.R. Penck, exhib.cat. no.8, n.p. with colour ill.