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Born 1942 in Bonn, Germany, lives and works in Cologne, Germany, and Corberon, FranceRead More
Günter Umberg studied at the Kunstakademie (Academy of Art) Düsseldorf, the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten (National Academy of Fine Arts) Antwerp, and the Cologne Werkschulen (Schools of Applied Arts) from 1963 to 1969. He was a professor of painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie (State Academy of Art) in Karlsruhe from 2000 to 2007.
Between 1982 and 1988, Günter Umberg ran a non-commercial 'Raum für Malerei' (Space for Painting) in Cologne, where international artists like Robert Ryman, Brice Marden, Alan Uglow, and Joseph Marioni had solo exhibitions. Umberg also curated special shows, including an exhibition at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, in 2000 and one in the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, in 2002.
Günter Umberg won the Fred Thieler Painting Award in 2005.
For more than thirty years, Günter Umberg has been painting monochrome pictures. Working against the common notion of monochrome painting, he is not interested in a minimalist gesture, an analytic approach, or a demonstration of painting as a process. He focuses rather on the definition of colour–its properties and significance–as the central medium of painting, and on the translation of colour into a picture. For Umberg, monochrome means vital energy; it is both a starting point and a totality.
The intensity of Umberg’s paintings is the result of the repeated application of colour pigments and binders in a specific painting style that transforms the technical process into a spiritual one. The result is an arresting, vibrant, and spatial presence of the pictures. These are reduced to relatively small formats, to edges and sides (the picture supports are made of wood or polyvinyl and slant inward) and thus seem to activate the space around them.
Umberg’s monochrome pictures can be hung either as individual works or solitary units, or they can be hung in groups like archipelagoes that are precisely spaced vertically and horizontally from each other. This kind of Territorium (territory) arrangement acts as a space of perceptual experience in a pictorial and architectural sense. It creates an open and vibrant organism within the context and site in question. A Territorium is thus not a serial work, but an assembly of works created at different times that are brought together in this moment of time and space to define their surroundings.
Selected solo exhibitions: Fondation Fernet-Branca, St. Louis, France (with Bernard Frize) (2015); Museum für Lackkunst, Münster, Germany (2009); Museum gegenstandsfreier Kunst, Otterndorf, Germany (with Elisabeth Vary) (2009); Städtische Galerie, Karlsruhe, Germany (2006); Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, Switzerland (2006); Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2005); Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe, Germany (2002); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (1998); Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1997); Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (1993); Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany (1991)
Selected museum collections: Argauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; FNAC, Paris, France; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Musée de Grenoble, France; Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; San Jose Museum of Art, San José, California; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany; Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany; Valencia Arte Contemporáneo, Valencia, Spain
Text courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder.
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