Günther Förg’s Grid Paintings Fuse the Geometries of Architecture and the Internet
Günther Förg’s unique personality and intensity make him one of the most important painters of the twentieth century. With
his energetic yet also spiritual style that blends a modernist mentality with unbridled lyricism, he has opened new possibilities
in fundamental, abstract painting, in this way further deepening the medium as such.
A general characteristic of Förg’s style is the often instinctive repetition of motifs, which are reiterated, time and again, in
new ways or in different contexts, in an attempt to fathom the possibilities they themselves offer. These motifs reveal a focused
yet simultaneously obsessive approach.
The grid-like hatchings Förg often utilised in both his paintings and drawings play different roles, depending on “how”
they are applied: sometimes the viewer can understand them as visual elements, at other times as an abstract hatching, and
sometimes as a comment or a gesture of the painter. Upon closer reflection, it is surprising to see what Förg has achieved on
a painterly level through his extensive experimentation with this basic given.
Sometimes they function as elements that guide the gaze to the deeper layers of the work, sometimes they are more autonomous,
existing as two-dimensional structures behind which lurks an entire world that nonetheless “participate” in the
painting. Their effect is partly paradoxical: the viewer’s perception of the underlying part of the work is hindered, while the
whole captivates the gaze precisely because of it.
The grids also often appear to have been painted over a first phase of the work, creating, in this way, a strong sense of division
between the first and the second or subsequent phases as separate layers. Two separate moments are brought together and
yet held apart: the moment of the artist’s first creative act and the moment that captures his own response to it. This infuses
the work with a strong sense of transience that testifies of the identity and personal experience of the artist.
Structures for Viewing, Deweer Gallery, Otegem, BE, 2014
Günther Förg studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and is part of a post-war generation of German artists who reacted against Modernism. His diverse body of work includes sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, and drawing, often in combination. Förg was one of the pioneers in exhibiting multi-disciplinary works, pre-dating much of installation art. Though stylistically diverse, his works share an interest in fragmentation and the political climate of his era in German. He has been historically categorized as an abstract and Minimalist artist (though his work does include some figuration). Förg is known for the use of brightly saturated solid colors, though one of his most famous series is a body of black-and-white photographs of international Bauhaus architecture, taken between 1980 and 2006.
German, 1952-2013, Fuessen, Germany, based in Colombier, Neuchâtel, Switzerland