Markus Lüpertz, Abkehr II (Adam), 2008, oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm, Private Collection
© Markus Lüpertz, courtesy Galerie Michael Werner Berlin, Köln & New York
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Born in 1941, Markus Lüpertz is one of the most prominent and influential contemporary artists in Germany. The Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany builds on its successful series of large-scale monographic exhibitions of German painters – among them Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz – and presents the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the work of Markus Lüpertz.
Almost fifty years of creation
Covering some 2000 square metres, the exhibition showcases a representative selection of approximately 150 paintings and sculptures by the artist who has always cast himself in the role of the ‘enfant terrible’ and the ‘painter prince’. Lüpertz’s oeuvre spans a period of almost fifty years, evolving from Pop Art-related ‘anti painting’ of the 1960s to the re-examination of classical painting that defines the work of the last couple of decades. As he wrote himself in 1989, ‘It began in 1962 with the first pictures of the Mickey Mouse series which still had that unbroken Tachisme-derived colouring. They engaged with their time by adopting the colouring, reproducibility and banality of comic strips. Thus rather than being beholden to the intellect-driven Art Informel, they played with the superficiality of the comic strip. ... Those paintings spoke through contrasts and rejected any form of three-dimensionality.
Illustration: Markus Lüpertz, Rückenakt, 2006, Oil on canvas, 190 x 130 cm, Private Collection, © Markus Lüpertz, courtesy Galerie Michael Werner Berlin, Köln & New York
From the dithyramb to the landscape
The exhibition sets out to explore Lüpertz's multifaceted oeuvre, his driving passion and intellectual rigour. It presents an artist who never felt bound to any one style, never believed in the merely representational purpose of art, an artist ceaselessly searching for what he calls the ‘potential picture’. The exhibition traces Lüpertz’s development from the ‘dithyrambic paintings’, which first brought the artist to public attention in the mid-1960s, to the ‘German motifs’ of the early 70s, from the abstract ‘style paintings’, the dream-like ‘Zwischenraumgespenster’ (literally: ‘Interstitial Ghosts’) and the celebrated Daphne sculptures to the ‘landscape paintings’ of the 90s and, finally, to the works of the first decade of the new millennium.
A rich events programme
After working in a coal mine and in road construction Lüpertz embraced painting in 1961, when he was 20. Right from the start, he applied himself not only to the fine arts but also to poetry and prose as well as music and theatre although he did this in a coherent way as he explained once: ‘All I ever do is paint. I write poetry as a painter, I create sculpture as a painter, I write as a painter. Everything I know, I know on the basis of painting.’ These aspects of the artist’s work are addressed in the extensive events programme accompanying the exhibition. Workshops for children, young people and adults focus on themes brought up in the exhibition and offer participants an opportunity to engage with the works in a creative way.
Catalogue Markus Lüpertz, 376 pages with color illustrations, hardcover
Museum edition: € 34.90, trade edition: Snoeck Verlag, Köln
Illustration: Markus Lüpertz, Judith, 1995, Cast-bronze, 315 x 138 x 140 cm, Private Collection, © Markus Lüpertz, courtesy Galerie Michael Werner Berlin, Köln & New York
To see more illustrations, click on VERSION FRANCAISE at the top of this page