Günther Förg (1952–2013) is mainly known for his monochrome paintings and his use of unusual materials like wood or lead. During the time of his longstanding career, Förg has worked in different techniques on canvas, he has created wall paintings, exterior sculptures and a vast body of prints and photographs. Throughout these different media, Förg's work was always driven by a certain reminiscence of modern art or architecture. His sense for an overarching context brought the artist to create an oeuvre dominated by series and suites.
In 1991 Förg began to deal with the theme of masks and created a work group of 36 sculptures capturing the human face in different conditions or states of becoming and dissolution. Along with few other sculptures and his photographs, these works are the only figurative representations by the artist. In their technique, materiality and motif they resemble masks created in bronze during the 1940s and -50s by artists of the Informel or Fauvism like André Derain or Jean Fautrier. The rough expressions on some of the faces call to mind Willem de Kooning's Head sculptures. In 1994 Förg revolved to the topic and created his final and most significant suite of masks, 4 Masken. They are larger in size and of an even more monumental appearance than the previous ones. Solidified in the archaic material of bronze casts, the four faces still bear traces of Förg's spontaneous working process. With the patina of the bronze adding a pictorial quality to these works, their furrowed surfaces remind of the vulnerability of human existence.
Günther Förg taught as a professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe and later at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich. In 1996 Günther Förg was awarded the Wolfgang-Hahn-Prize and in 2003 he was honoured with the Federal Cross of Merit. Since the 1980's, the artist's work has been shown in numerous renowned museums and institutions such as Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2015); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2014); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2009); Langen Foundation, Neuss (2007); Kunstmuseum Basel (2006); Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2003, 2006); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2002); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2001); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía / Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid (1998); Touko Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1991); Museum Fridericianum, Kassel; Secession, Vienna (1990); Newport Harbour Art Museum, Newport Beach (1989); and The Renaissance Society, Chicago (1988). In 1992 Förg participated in the documenta XI. The artist's work is represented in major collections such as the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Britain, London.
Press release courtesy KEWENIG.