b. 1940, Germany

Imi Knoebel Artworks

Made from simple materials and with 'pure perception' as their guiding ethos, Imi Knoebel's paintings and installations communicate sentiments across form and colour.

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Installations

While studying under Beuys, Knoebel made Raum 19 (1968). Named after his studio at the time, this large-scale installation consists of 184 pieces of wood and fibreboard, including frames, cylinders, and cubes, which can be stacked, layered, and reconfigured in multiple ways.

Unpainted and untreated, Raum 19 paved the way for the neutral, pared-down works that would follow, all of which would prioritise form over idea. In the artist's own words: 'When I am asked about what I think when I look at a painting ... I look at it and can only take in the beauty, and I don't want to see it in relation to anything else.'

White Paintings

During his studies, Knoebel grew more interested in high modernist principles, including the relationship between space, pictorial space, and colour.

Accordingly, Knoebel's early work included light projections and pure white paintings like Weisse Konstellation (1975/1987), four acrylic boards painted white and stacked diagonally atop one another against a wall.

Coloured Sentiment

Later geometric paintings like the 'Kinderstern' ('Star for Children') series (1988—ongoing), which includes imperfect star shapes painted bright colours, depart from a strictly reductionist stance through the addition of colour while retaining the simplicity of familiar forms, recreating a toy block a child could play with.

Just as understated, An meine Grüne Seite 07-29 (2007), a white tent-like construction made from two boards propped against each other with the interior painted orange, appears almost sculptural in nature as it renounces the boundaries of the canvas.

Knife Cut Paintings

Knoebel is further known for his 'Messerschnitt' ('Knife Cut') paintings, a distinct painting style on paper that results in a cacophony of abstract shapes rendered in complementary colours, each partaking a dialogue with the next without ever touching the other.

Amongst them, Messerschnitt (1977) depicts morsels of brown aside curling red strips and hybrid triangles painted pink, showing the odd shapes in perfect harmony against a white background.

Later Work

In Knoebel's work, shape and colour alike arouse sentiments of liveliness and nostalgia in the viewer, which are emphasised by the simplicity of the artist's subject matter.

Resulting works like LUEB Go 1276w (2013), strips of colour plastered on a pink oval aluminium board, hint at a sense of playfulness while offering a sober contemplation of visual and formal interactions through its careful composition.

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Fishing Red I E. by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting
Imi Knoebel Fishing Red I E., 2008 Painting
60 x 120 cm
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Face 88 Ed by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Face 88 Ed, 2016 Acrylic on plastic foil
36 x 36 cm
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Kinderstern by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Kinderstern, 1994 Acrylic on wood
38.5 x 43 x 9 cm
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Face 87 Ed. by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Face 87 Ed., 2016 Acrylic on plastic foil
36 x 36 cm
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Face 75 Ed. by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Face 75 Ed., 2016 Acrylic on plastic foil
36 x 36 cm
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Element 39.1 by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Element 39.1, 2018 Acrylic on aluminium
34.5 x 30.9 x 1 cm
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Tafel DCLXXXIX by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork sculpture
Imi Knoebel Tafel DCLXXXIX, 2016 Acylic on aluminium, wood
14.7 x 10.4 x 3.1 cm
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Messerschnitt VI by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Imi Knoebel Messerschnitt VI, 1977 Acrylic on paper
100 x 70 cm
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Pure Freude E4 01-2 by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Pure Freude E4 01-2, 2001 Acrylic on plastic paper
103 x 74 cm
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Kinderstern by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Kinderstern, 2000 Acrylic on wood
38.5 x 42.5 x 9 cm
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Nummer 9B-15B by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Nummer 9B-15B, 2012 Acrylic on aluminium
45.1 x 301.4 x 1 cm
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Anima Mundi 106-3 by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Anima Mundi 106-3, 2019 Acrylic on aluminium
37 x 127 cm
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Untitled by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Imi Knoebel Untitled, 1983 Enamel on paper
73.5 x 98 cm
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Untitled by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Imi Knoebel Untitled, 1985 Oil, gesso and découpage on fibreboard
202 x 172 cm
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Twins by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, mixed media
Imi Knoebel Twins, 2006 Acrylic, aluminium, plastic film
144 x 99 x 6 cm
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Anima Mundi 15-3 by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Imi Knoebel Anima Mundi 15-3, 2010 Acrylic on plastic
48.5 x 38.5 cm
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LUEB Go 1276w by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Imi Knoebel LUEB Go 1276w, 2013 Acrylic on aluminium
174 x 140 x 6.5 cm
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An meine Grüne Seite 07-29 by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting
Imi Knoebel An meine Grüne Seite 07-29, 2007 Acrylic, aluminium, plastic film
20 x 15 cm
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Untitled by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork sculpture
Imi Knoebel Untitled, 1987 Fiberboard on wood
270 x 360 x 9 cm
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Tafel DLXXXV by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting
Imi Knoebel Tafel DLXXXV, 2018 Acrylic, aluminium, wood
35.7 x 25.4 x 4.3 cm
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Tafel DCXXVIII by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting
Imi Knoebel Tafel DCXXVIII, 2018 Acrylic, aluminium, wood
35.7 x 25.4 x 4.3 cm
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O. T. by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork mixed media
Imi Knoebel O. T., 1983 Rust-proofing paint, adhesive tape, plastic foile and collage on processed wood panel
101 x 71 x 2 cm
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Weisse Konstellation by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting
Imi Knoebel Weisse Konstellation, 1975/1987 Acrylic on wood, 4 parts
344 x 328 x 7 cm
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Messerschnitt by Imi Knoebel contemporary artwork painting
Imi Knoebel Messerschnitt, 1977 Acrylic on paper
100 x 70 cm
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