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(1952 – 2013), Germany

Günther Förg Biography

German artist Günther Förg left behind important contributions to the fields of abstract painting, sculpture, photography, and installation. His works are both self-reflective and referential to modernist themes from a range of 20th-century movements.

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Born in 1952 in the Bavarian town of Füssen, Günter Förg's artistic career began at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich in 1973. Influenced by artists like Blinky Palermo and Sol LeWitt, Förg began to develop his 'Gitter' paintings during his studies. Initially using only grey and white, these abstract monochrome paintings bucked the figurative trend that came to dominate West German art in the 1980s.

Completing his education in 1979, Günter Förg began developing his wall paintings, which marked a shift towards installation. Their monochrome surfaces evoking the works of Kazimir Malevich or Mark Rothko, Förg's wall paintings became a consistent feature of his career to the end. Frequently made up of horizontal and vertical divisions between contrasting fields of colour, the context and location of the wall upon which the artist worked determined how these works would be painted.

In the 1980s, disillusioned by painting's apparent disjunction from reality, the artist completely redirected his attention to photography. Günther Förg's photographs revolve primarily around examples of modern architecture. Well into the 1990s, he printed large-scale images of subjects like Art Nouveau buildings in Germany, fascist structures in Italy, and Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv. Günther Förg's prints were often presented in casing fronted with glass, adding to their architectural dimension.

In the late 1980s, around the time the artist also began to make a return to painting, Günther Förg's sculpture practice also began to take shape. His 'Lead Paintings' (1986–1990)—abstract acrylic paintings on supported lead sheets—were a launching point for his sculpture as he embraced new materials such as wood, concrete, lead, copper, and bronze.

First creating abstract bronze reliefs, formed by hand with a painterly quality, by the 1990s Förg was producing his wood and metal fragmented body parts.

Progressing on from his 'Lead Paintings', Förg's return to painting saw a gradual shift away from an exclusively minimalist style. By the 21st century, his paintings had become brighter in terms of palette and more gestural in conception.

Appropriating and experimenting with older modernist strategies of art-making, Förg's 'Gitterbilder' paintings (1992–2009) evoke the lines of Cy Twombly and colourful abstraction of late Munch works, while other paintings resemble Paul Klee's watercolours and Mark Rothko's colour fields, among others.

Over the last 40 years, Günter Förg's art has appeared in group and solo exhibitions in galleries and institutions across the globe. In 1996, his work earned him the Wolfgang-Hahn-Preis from the Museum Ludwig. Günter Förg features in major public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Kunstmuseum Basel, Luxembourg's Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Tate in London.

Since Günter Förg's death in 2013, his work continues to command attention on a world stage. A survey show of the artist's broad body of work's, Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty, opened at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 2018, later traveling to the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas. In 2019, Günter Förg's artworks represented German art across the globe, featuring in the travelling institutional survey exhibition, Travelling the World: Art from Germany, which went to museums in Germany, Serbia, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, and Korea.

Günter Förg's estate is now represented by Hauser & Wirth.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020

Günther Förg Featured Artworks

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Ledoux I by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgLedoux I, 2000/2013Black and white photograph
250 x 130 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 1990Acrylic on wood
60 x 50 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 1990Acrylic on lead on wood
150 x 115 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 2000Acrylic on lead on wood
80 x 60 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 1994Acrylic on paper
198 x 147.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 2007Acrylic and oil on canvas
290 x 290 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 2001Wax crayon on paper
14.5 x 21 cm
Bernhard Knaus Fine Art Contact Gallery
Untitled by Günther Förg contemporary artwork
Günther FörgUntitled, 2005Acrylic on canvas
195 x 280 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery

Günther Förg Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Günther Förg, A Game of Chess at Almine Rech, Rue de Turenne, Paris
Closed
6 March–10 April 2021 Günther Förg A Game of Chess Almine RechRue de Turenne, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Un Hiver à Gstaad Paris at Almine Rech, Rue de Turenne, Paris
Closed
6–27 February 2021 Group Exhibition Un Hiver à Gstaad Paris Almine RechRue de Turenne, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Günther Förg, 4 Masken at KEWENIG, Berlin
Closed
15 December 2020–17 April 2021 Günther Förg 4 Masken KEWENIGBerlin

Günther Förg Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Aspen, Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Shanghai
Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hauser & Wirth New York, Hong Kong, Zurich, London, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz

Günther Förg In Ocula Magazine

Exhibitions to See in Hong Kong Ocula Feature Exhibitions to See in Hong Kong By Tessa Moldan, Hong Kong

As Hong Kong gradually reopens after lockdown, explore the exhibitions taking place this summer.

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Günther Förg In Related Press

Preview Art Basel 2019 Related Press Preview Art Basel 2019 7 June 2019, ARTnews

Art Basel 2019 opens to the public on Thursday, June 13, with two preview days, on June 11 and 12. Some 290 galleries from 34 countries will show work at the Swiss fair, which runs through June 16.

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Günther Förg: Works from 1986 – 2007 Related Press Günther Förg: Works from 1986 – 2007 2 April 2019, The Brooklyn Rail

Hauser & Wirth's exhibition Günther Förg: Works from 1986 – 2007 presents painting, sculpture, and photography by the German artist, whose estate is now represented by the gallery, in a new institutional setting. Förg, who died on his birthday in 2013 at the age of 61, experimented with mimicry in his exploration of mid-20th century...

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Art Brussels announces details of Discovery, Rediscovery and Solo sections Related Press Art Brussels announces details of Discovery, Rediscovery and Solo sections 9 April 2016, Art Fix Daily

From April 21 to 24, the 34th edition of Art Brussels will take place in a new location, Tour & Taxis, a spectacular example of industrial architecture built in 1904, formerly a customs house. This year, the fair has been reduced in size, bringing together 141 galleries from 28 countries, represented in three main sections: PRIME, DISCOVERY and...

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Günther Förg In Video & Audio

GÜNTHER FÖRG: A FRAGILE BEAUTY Related Video & Audio GÜNTHER FÖRG: A FRAGILE BEAUTY 25 June 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents a major survey of the work of German artist Günther Förg (1952–2013). 'A Fragile Beauty' explores the work of a rebellious artist whose oeuvre embodies a critical, witty, yet rigorous and penetrating critique of the canon of modern art.

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