One of the leading German artists of the post-war period, conceptual artist Imi Knoebel is known for his theoretical approach to colour and form. CENTRUM will feature a new series of five large-scale, monochrome paintings by the artist. For this series of work, Knoebel returns to working with wood, a material which has occupied him since the beginning of his career. The works in the series, which will be exhibited for the first time in this exhibition, allude to the contoured skyline of a city. As part of the series, Knoebel has created a distinctive cross-shaped work, symbolically suggestive of a church at the heart of this abstract landscape. With some of the works in the series reaching more than three metres wide, the artworks will dominate the gallery space. Knoebel made the decision to restrict the display of his artwork to the front space of the gallery in order to create a strikingly dense display.
Knoebel’s puristic line drawings of the early 1970s saw the inclusion of colour for the first time in 1974. Throughout a career spanning over 50 years, the artist has continued his experimentation with colour, his powerful use of colour combinations working to reveal the physical potentialities behind often rudimentary materials. By reducing art to its mostformal elements, Knoebel highlights the possibilities inherent within these materials and structures.
Imi Knoebel (b. 1940, Germany) studied from 1962 – 64 at the Werkkunstschule (School for Applied Arts) in Darmstadt, fascinated by the teaching style and personality of Joseph Beuys, he moved in 1964 to the Kunstakademie (Art Academy) in Düsseldorf. Knoebel, however, distanced himself from the other Beuys students and developed his own, minimalist style, influenced by its great forerunner Kazimir Malevich. Following puristic line drawings, light projections and white paintings (1972 – 75) Knoebel turned to colour for the first time in 1974. During the 1980s the artist experimented with found objects, incorporating them within his installation pieces. Continuing his investigation into the medium of painting, Knoebel has also expanded his practice to an architectural scale; his largest commission to date saw the artist design several stained glass windows for the Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral, installed in 2011 and 2015. In 2018 the solo exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv Zürich took place, including an exhibition catalogue published at Hatje Cantz.
Initially co-founded in 1970 by Margareta and Miklos von Bartha who remain a contributing force in its strategic direction, the family-run gallery has been under the direction of Stefan von Bartha since 2008. Together, the two generations maintain an unparalleled level of expertise. Von Bartha is a trusted destination for its audiences and a place to gain knowledge of the artists and the specialist areas that they represent. Von Bartha presents a cutting-edge contemporary programme, representing an international roster of artists working across a diverse range of media including Superflex, Terry Haggerty, John Wood & Paul Harrison, Anna Dickinson, Sarah Oppenheimer, and Felipe Mujica amongst others. The gallery nurtures new generations of artists, whilst supporting the continually evolving practice of their established artists. As one of the longest-running international contemporary art galleries, von Bartha continues to support the careers of influential artists such as Camille Graeser, Fritz Glarner and Olle Baertling. It facilitates discovery across the generations, and has a track record of fostering the careers of some of the leading artists of the 20th Century with a focus on Constructivism; Concrete art; and Op art. Located in Basel, one of the world’s most important centres for the display of art, and Schanf, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, von Bartha brings together international and local art audiences across these two locations. Von Bartha creates a unique platform of events and programming including salons, openings, and exhibitions beyond the walls of the gallery, inspiring and informing audiences by making new connections and offering a fresh perspective. Von Bartha publishes books, exhibition catalogues and its own online magazine “Stories” featuring interviews, essays and insights to the gallery’s work and programme.