16 March - 4 May 2013

The Michael Werner Kunsthandel will be presenting an exhibition of paintings by the Danish artist Per Kirkeby (*1938) in Cologne, opening on 16 March. Following the recent retrospective exhibitions in the London Tate Modern, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Küppersmühle Museum in Duisburg, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to show new works created over the past two years. Some of the paintings will have their first public showing here in our gallery.

Per Kirkeby began his artistic work in the 1960’s while he was still studying Geology. He produced work that can best be understood in the context of the Pop Art movement which was prevalent at that time. During this period, his experiences were largely influenced by his interdisciplinary interests. Alongside his academic research he began an intensive exploration of art history, writing articles, cooperating in film productions and taking part in happenings. For the first 10 years, his work was often regarded as illustrating his scientific studies but this was to change following his participation in a group show entitled “A New Spirit in Painting” in London (1981). As from 1980, he began fusing motifs from art history, religious themes, landscape painting, geological studies and elements of abstraction into his compositions. In the mid-1990’s his predominantly dark painting style, typical of his earlier work, gradually made way for series of more colourful canvasses.

According to Beat Wismer, this represented a turning point and ushered in a phase of surprisingly free compositions and a refreshingly bright colour spectrum, which has characterized his later work. This upcoming exhibition presents 20 works on canvas. Per Kirkeby describes this phase as one of liberation from earlier constraints.” The title >Mature Works< may suggest an element of pathos, but it is fitting. There is a freedom that comes with age. (…) It’s a form of old-age arrogance. You can do what you want without making any allowances.” (from a conversation with Prof. Dr Siegfried Gohr, 2007)

An exhibition catalogue is available and includes a text by Beat Wismer.