Markus Lüpert im Museo de Bellas Artes Bilbao

Markus Lüpertz 1963-2013

After his family settled in what used to be called West Germany in 1948, Markus Lüpertz (Liberec, Bohemia, 1941) began as a painter in the nineteen-sixties. Some years later, in 1981, he broadened his range and took to sculpture, being equally at home in either discipline. With a successful career spanning more than fifty years behind him, he has come to be considered one of the foremost artists of his generation. A leading light of the German group originally called Neue Wilder (the new savages or the new Expressionists), he began working in the abstract expressionist idiom, before evolving towards a personal mode of figurative art, particularly noticeable in his interest in the human body and landscape. Lüpertz has drawn inspiration from Greek mythology, masters like Poussin and Goya and even from classical music, Wagner and Mozart in particular.

Produced by the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and curated by art historian Kosme de Barañano, Markus Lüpertz 1963-2013 features 91 works, the majority paintings and the rest sculptures, dating from the 1960s to the present day. This is the first major retrospective in Spain since the shows held at the Queen Sofia National Art Centre Museum in Madrid, as long ago as 1991, and at Valencia’s IVA modern art institute in 2002.

Divided into five sections, the exhibition follows the evolution of Lüpertz’s artistic concerns. The early phase (1963–1973) features the “German motif” paintings, fiercely critical of the barbarity of the III Reich and, implicitly, of the superficial vision of American Pop Art. In the period that followed (1975–1985) he explored the human figure in an idiom pitched somewhere between figuration and abstraction, inspired by his exploration of the work of sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861–1944). From 1985 to 1993 Lüpertz’s paintings and sculptures reflect his interest in mythology and the classical tradition. One of his most widely acclaimed series, built around the figure of painter Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), dates from this time. Over the next seven years (1993–2000) he turned his attention to landscape, the still-life and a series on trees constructed through the juxtaposition of different parts. Rounding off the exhibition are works from the last decade (2003–2013), in which Lüpertz looks back to his earliest torsos and landscapes that reflect his primordial interest in recovering the transcendence of classical art couched in a contemporary idiom.

18. Februar - 19. May 2014