ERNST WILHELM NAY. PAINTINGS FROM THE 60s

11 NOVEMBER 2017 - 13 JANUARy 2018

„In my work I have endeavoured to create a real world of colour in which each individual colour can resonate, free from any deliberation on the part of the artist, and can present new and unique formulations of what it is to be human and creative – and this endeavour has given purpose to my life.“ (Ernst Wilhelm Nay, October 1967)

The Michael Werner Kunsthandel is delighted to present the exhibition Ernst Wilhelm Nay – Patintings from the 60s in cooperation with the Ernst Wilhelm Nay Stiftung. Thirteen canvases will be on show from the last creative period of the artist's life (1964 – 1967) in which he developed a distinctive change of style.

What characterises Nay's work as from the mid-60s is a reduction in form and palette which resulted in a more 2-dimentional, ornamental style. In the 1950s he had begun to paint the Scheibenbilder, compositions of round colour surfaces organised in subtle modulations of space and colour which gradually developed into what are known as „Eye Images“ (Augenbilder) in the early 60s. This work led on to chains of round and oval discs which suggest endless vertical spheres and bands of colour. Some of these compositions reveal forms and patterns that relate back to his earlier works. These image citations can be seen as the „codex of his late works“. As such, the paintings relate on the one hand to the past, and at the same time represent a fresh start in the artist's oeuvre. These pictures have been likened to „like captured moments from the living flow of forms. In these, human symbols are inscribed as witnesses of the bigger picture; this might include history, but at the same time goes well beyond this – with no end in sight.“ (Prof. Dr. Siegfried Gohr, 2017). Although Nay is usually considered to be an abstract artist, the human body seems to represent a touchstone in his work. He uses contrasting colours to create a rhythmic composition of diverse organic forms which are reminiscent of human movement.

Ernst Wilhelm Nay (*1902 in Berlin) is one of the most outstanding representatives of German 20th century art. He moved to Cologne in 1951 where he lived and worked until his death in 1968.

A catalogue with a text by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Gohr will be published for this exhibition.