10 JUNE - 22 JULY 2017


the past is the future - the new lies behind me - the old before me - the transition - splits the identity - what once was - what is still going on there - what was here - what is still going on here - what if - what not if not - divided face - destroyed poem - jazz is not dead

(A.R. Penck, catalogue for an exhibition at Josef Haubrich Kunsthalle in Cologne, 1981)

A.R. Penck (5 October 1939 – 2 May 2017) leaves behind a body of work that has left an indelible mark on German art since the 1960s. Penck lent an oeuvre consisting of paintings, drawings, sculptures, model designs and texts a theoretical framework in the late 1960s by coining the term “Standart”. He tried to clearly structure his art so that anyone would be able to fully absorb and understand it. Starting in the 1970s, he expanded his formal language, combining geometric shapes, archetypal forms, symbols from mathematics and logic, and his distinctive stick figures, into complex images. Ornamental, pattern-like representations are juxtaposed with clear-cut abstract forms. In between, faceless stick figures surface again and again. “[…] In the pictures you can see that the figures, although they still have an iconic look, have left the realm of flat naivety. Space and time play a different role [...]” (A.R. Penck on Standart West, 1984)

The current show was planned during the artist’s lifetime. Featured are large-format canvases, dating mainly from the period from 1974 to 1984. The Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence has dedicated a large-scale retrospective to the artist titled “Rites de Passage”, on view until 18 June. A book accompanying the exhibition has been published by Walther König.