Imi Knoebel: Ich Nicht
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Imi Knoebel: Ich NichtMay 23–June 26, 2009
part one of the two-part exhibition the Deutsche Guggenheim dedicates
to artist Imi Knoebel, focuses on the wall and spatial work he made
between 2005 and 2008. The title is Knoebel’s cryptic answer to a
question Barnett Newman posed in the 1960s with his painting series Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue.
Newman’s monochromatic color fields provoked heated reactions at the
time. But does this fear still exist? Paintings that have departed from
objects and nature are still frequently considered far more dubious
than figurative art. Yet Knoebel challenges the viewer to engage in
color, surface, and form without preconception.
Together with the Neue Nationalgalerie, which is concurrently showing the Knoebel exhibition Zu Hilfe, zu Hilfe . . ., the Deutsche Guggenheim celebrates this exceptional artist’s ability to transform the fundamentals of his art into something new time and again. Likewise, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York was built to house Guggenheim’s collection of largely nonobjective art. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this modernist masterwork, and in celebration, the Guggenheim is presenting the first major showing of the architect’s work in the museum, one of his most groundbreaking achievements. As these encounters with Knoebel and Wright demonstrate, modernism can still be experienced today as an intellectual, sensuous, and controversial adventure.
The exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is being mounted in close collaboration with the artist and in cooperation with the Neue Nationalgalerie, where Imi’s Knoebel installation Zu Hilfe, zu Hilfe… is opening at the same time.