Max Bill, kern und strahlung, 1958-62, oil on canvas, 71 x 93 cm
Max Bill, transcoloration im hellen und im dunkeln, 1965, oil on canvas, 113 x 113 cm (diagonal)
Max Bill, farbprogression um weissen kern, 1969-70, oil on canvas, 62 x 62 cm
Galerie Knoell, Basel Art Basel 2019
Galerie Knoell is pleased to participate at Art Basel for the first time in the sector Art Basel Feature. To mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, Galerie Knoell will dedicate a solo presentation to the Swiss artist, architect and designer Max Bill.
To mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, Galerie Knoell dedicates a solo presentation to the Swiss artist, architect and designer Max Bill (1908-1994). Displaying works ranging from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, Galerie Knoell’s third presentation including Bill will explore the artist’s seminal influence on the Concrete art movement, displaying, above all, his ability to communicate simple ideas of geometric elegance in the basic purity and honesty of a composition.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential Swiss artists of all time, after initially training as a silversmith, Bill moved from his native Switzerland to Dessau, Germany, where he attended the Bauhaus from 1927 until 1929. At the Bauhaus, where Bill met his lifetime friend and collaborator Josef Albers, he studied under Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky and became preoccupied with furthering the intense theoretical exploration of the term ‘Concrete art’, which was introduced in 1924 by Theo van Doesburg. A style of art based on geometrical foundations and referring to nothing other than itself, Concrete art should not recognise the abstraction of the external world but solely the pure form, or ‘principle of order’, that it presents. Individual expression, based on mathematical thinking, should result in works that constitute self-sufficient form: arising from themselves and standing by themselves.
Along with a key group of Swiss artists, in 1937 Bill formed the Allianz group, who collectively advocated Concrete art, promoting it in several important exhibitions in the 1930’s and 1940’s in key cultural institutions across Switzerland, including the Kunsthalle Basel in 1937 and the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1942. By 1951, Concrete art had gained an international following, which was underlined by Bill winning the first prize for sculpture at the very first São Paulo Biennale, which had a revolutionary effect on South American artistic output, inspiring a second generation of important Concrete artists that include Lygia Pape, Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica. Bill’s impact on Concrete art is so profound that he is prominently placed in the history of abstract art as exhibited by MOMA, and a series of important works by Bill are currently being integrated into the Tate collection.
Galerie Knoell presents during Art Basel at booth J 11 three decades of Bill’s work on canvas and in sculpture. The grouping of so many works by Bill both highlights the historic dialogue woven by his oeuvre, as well as showcasing his artistic and theoretical innovation. This presentation celebrates the global art historical importance of a Swiss artist in his native country, marking the anniversary of the Bauhaus with a commemoration of one of its most seminal alumni.