JÖRG IMMENDORFF. PAINTINGS FROM THE 80s

I react like a seismographer to pressure, to expectation from others, to injustice, as well as to hopes, longings and imaginations. I react as a painter. (…)  In the act of painting I vary, explore and finally reject all that is sentimental to come to the basic underlying concepts. My art is not a fad, it is a necessity which is political, not only in its figurative statement, but also in its artistic realisation“ (Jörg Immendorff in conversation with Jörg Huber, 1983)

This year Michael Werner Kunsthandel starts the new year with a single exhibition presenting mainly large format works by Jörg Immendorff, created between 1980 and 1989. The artist achieved public acclaim with a series of monumental paintings known as the Café Deutschland Cycle (1977-1983), which explores aspects of the division of Germany. In this work, Immendorff revived the genre of historical painting for modern times which initiated a deeply controversial debate. In the early 60s, he had already provoked not only the political establishment but also the artistic and cultural world with his LIDL action in the Rhineland, which calls the definition of art into question. In 1976 Immendorff met his fellow artist A.R.Penck who lived in East Germany and soon created together an „artistic collective“. Due to the limitations arising from the division of Germany at that time, their cooperation was largely on an artistic and conceptual level.

Early on in his carreer as an artist Immendorff created an individual iconography of political symbols. These include images of eagles, sheets of ice, five-pointed stars or the Brandenburg Gate, which he used repeatedly to comment on the situation in society and current affairs. The centre-piece of this exhibition is the six-piece „Naht-Quadriga“ from 1981. This pivital work is exhibited for the first time in 10 years.

Jörg Immendorff was born in 1945 near Lüneburg. He began to study Stage Design at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf in 1963, but was soon accepted in Joseph Beuys' class. Despite a long illness, he continued to work tirelessly until his death in Düsseldorf on 28 May 2007. Jörg Immendorff is widely considered to be one of the foremost German artists of the post-war period. His works can be found in numerous international collections.

The beginning of February saw the publication of the second volume of the complete catalogue of his works („Jörg Immendorff Catalogue Raisonné Paintings, Volume II 1984-98“, edited by Siegfried Gohr, Cologne: Walter König, 2018)