Exhibition — 16 Nov 1996 until 20 Jan 1997

This German artist is showing installations, sculptures and paintings produced between the late 1960's and the present: the first show in a quartet of exhibitions of the work of important post-war German artists.

In the course of 1997, it will be followed by large-scale exhibitions by Markus Lüpertz, Ulrich Rückriem and Katharina Sieverding.

This exhibition offers a generous overview of Knoebel's work, but is not a retrospective. Groups of works were selected for this presentation in order to clearly show how over the course of the years unaltered points of departure have yielded great visual variety for Knoebel. His work was previously seen in The Netherlands in exhibitions which diverged from each other greatly in character. Now, for the first time, in the Stedelijk Museum all aspects of his work are to be seen together. This enables us to see that Knoebel maintains clear mutual connections among his various sorts of work, and that the sometimes confusing pluriformity is only apparent.

Knoebel (Dessau, 1940) views himself primarily as a painter. His manner of painting has been influenced by major models such as Mondrian and Malevich, and Blinky Palermo and Lucio Fontana were, for instance, important for his development. He utilizes painterly means such as colour, brush stroke, canvas, panel and other carriers for the paint, worked and unworked surfaces, and constructions to shape the surfaces. At the same time, volume, which is more directly related to sculpture, plays a prominent role. He shows flat, unworked sheets of hardboard, or stretchers for canvasses, in piles and three-dimensional arrangements.

Some of Knoebel's works remind one of American Minimal Art. Yet Knoebel is not striving for the anonymity, the repetition of that art movement; he uses a systematic approach in order to achieve a dynamic openness. This is clearly to be seen in the installation 'Raum 19' (1968; recreated 1992), based on a space in the Düsseldorf Academy which he shared with the painters Jörg Immendorf and Blinky Palermo during the 1960's.

The installation consists of a whole series of objects, pedestals and stretchers, apparently jumbled together in disorder. The panels and frames are the materials used by a painter, but together they form a three-dimensional sculpture. The hardboard is unpainted, and the shapes are executed with great precision. This work, which moves between disciplines and binds together the two- and three-dimensional, is in a certain sense Knoebel's answer to Joseph Beuys, with whom Knoebel had studied at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf.

Knoebel has installed new works, which he produced specially for this exhibition, in the Museum's honour gallery. The prominent role assigned to colour construction among them is striking. Among other important works to be seen are 'Schwarzes Kreuz' (1968-1985), the series 'Grace Kelly' (1989-91), '24.1.86' (1986), Weisse Constellation (1996) and 'Genter Raum' (1980). The exhibition comprises 75 works in total, and occupies eleven galleries.

The catalogue 'Imi Knoebel - Works 1968-1996' is appearing in connection with this exhibition. It includes texts by Rudi Fuchs, Max Wechsler, Johannes St úttgen, Hubertus Gassner, Marja Bloem and Carmen Knoebel. It was published by Cantz in 1996. The English version is available in the Stedelijk Museum bookshop.

This exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Haus der Kunst, Munich, and is made possible in part by the Stiftung Kunst und Kultur des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen and Hugo Boss.