press release

Opening Wednesday, April 6th 2016, from 6 to 9 pm
From April 7th till May 21st
From Tuesday to Saturday, 11-19

Giò Marconi is pleased to present “Le coppie si passano la palla” - Günther Förg’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

A well-known figure in the 1980s, Förg is a key member of an influential generation of German artists including Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Georg Herold. Förg’s multidisciplinary practice emphasizes a dialogue between the different media of painting, photography, architecture and sculpture. Always interested in a critical investigation of modernism and its legacy, Förg challenged artistic conventions, equally considering the frame, the pictorial field and the physical space beyond it.

The concept behind the exhibition “Le coppie si passano la palla” is the juxtaposition of large acrylic paintings with their identical small counterparts on wood.

On display in the gallery are several of these large- and small-scale works stemming partly from Günther Förg’s iconic window paintings series and his colourful grid and dot paintings series. Numerous small paintings on wood are exhibited on their own and without the vicinity of their bigger double. Their content ranges from purely abstract brushstrokes to semi-abstract works that hint at landscapes or far away mountains to very straightforward and rare figurative paintings of a hand or a verdant tree.

Between 2003 and 2007 Günther Förg had produced several hundred small paintings on wood. All these small paintings were not only autonomous little works, they were much rather reproductions of larger-scale canvases that already existed and that the artist had painted in the past.

It is always taken for granted that artists work their way from the small sketch – be it a watercolour or a drawing – towards the large painting. Förg, however, did the exact opposite. The large works existed first. The small formats were afterthoughts and consequences of the big statements: what had just been completed by him on a large scale was shortly after reproduced in a smaller format.

In 1996 the art historian Max Wechsler had very pointedly summarized this artistic approach in an essay about the artist: ‘Everything seems more or less clearly to derive from something, everything seems to claim that artistic work should fundamentally also be understood as a continuous, commenting reaction on existing pictorial works – including, naturally, one’s own.’ * By reproducing over 400 of his works from different kinds of periods Günther Förg was making paintings about paintings and was thus preparing his own retrospective on a mini scale.

* Max Wechsler, ‘Ein komplexes Schau-spiel, inszeniert auch im Detail: Zur Kunst von Günther Förg’ (A Complex Spactacle, Staged with Careful Attention to Detail: An Essay on the Art of Günther Förg), in Günther Förg, exh. cat, (Hannover: Kunstverein Hannover, 1996).

Günther Förg was born 1952 in Füssen and died 2013 in Freiburg. He was a professor at the University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe and later at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

Select solo exhibitions include Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2015); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2014); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2009); Langen Foundation, Neuss (2007); Kunstmuseum Basel (2006); Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2003, 2006); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2002); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2001); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1995); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía / Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid (1998); Touko Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1991); Museum Fridericianum, Kassel; Secession, Vienna (1990); Newport Harbour Art Museum, Newport Beach (1989) and The Renaissance Society, Chicago (1988). His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions including Contemporary Galleries: 1980–Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Flashback - eine Revision der Kunst der 80er Jahre, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel (2005); Sammlung Speck, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (1996); documenta IX, Kassel (1992); and Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1988).

Günther Förg's work is part of major collections, such as Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; Musée national d’art moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Britain, London.