German painter Günther Förg died this week, at 61, of cancer.
Bruce Weber writes in the NYTimes:
Günther Förg, a German painter, sculptor and photographer whose work exemplified, toyed with, tweaked and commented on — sometimes all at once — the broad artistic movement known as modernism, died at his home in Freiburg, Germany, on Dec. 5, his 61st birthday. The cause was cancer, Jeffrey Rowledge, a spokesman for Mr. Förg’s New York gallery, Greene Naftali, said in an email…
The article quotes German art critic Andreas Schlaegel as saying:
Retrospectively, the reason for the continued importance of Förg’s oeuvre becomes clear….The evolution of his direct, subjective engagement with the aesthetic of the sublime — conducted without fear of stereotypical taboos — oscillates between appropriation and homage, yet Förg does so without any ironic quotations or other such cheap distancing techniques. Instead, he throws mythical ballast overboard and appropriates picture-making strategies in a way that makes them look new.
Back in 2012, Förg had his first New York solo show in more than a decade at Greene Naftali. Marking a departure from his previous work (see images from his 2012 retrospective at Max Hetzler here), the exhibition comprised several large-scale paintings featuring colorful brushwork patches floating on open canvas, reminiscent of Cy Twombly, and three rather somber grey paintings. Completed between 2007 to 2009, the paintings continued his exploration of the brushstroke as abstract form, but introduced a new playfulness. Förg compared the grey paintings to erased chalkboards, which suggested to me either a redaction of joyfulness or an acknowledgement of its fleeting nature — couched, of course, in the language and ideas of painting.
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