Spotlight: Günther Förg’s Experimental Approach to Abstraction Gets a Survey in Munich

The career-spanning exhibition is currently on view at Galerie Thomas.

Günther Förg, Ohne Titel (2006). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas.

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About the Artist: German abstract artist Günther Förg (1952–2013) produced a wide-ranging oeuvre that encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, and more. Incorporating stylistic elements of 20th-century formalism and informed by modern considerations of space, the artist synthesized both new and old modes and ideas into his own inimitable visual language. Förg’s body of work is also distinctly experimental, featuring unusual mediums and exploring diverse themes; one of the artist’s most notable series, known as the lead paintings, unlocked the potential of the chemical element as an art medium, lending the painted works both a visual and physical heft. Förg was a professor at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, and his work has been exhibited worldwide.

Why We Like It: In the monographic exhibition “Günther Förg” at Galerie Thomas, exemplary works from across three decades of the artist’s career attest to his range and technical skill. Canvases like Rivoli (1989) recall midcentury abstract Color Field painting and are juxtaposed with delicate, even romantic, landscape-inspired watercolors from the 2000s; a collection of painted diptychs and triptychs from various decades reveal how Förg returned to certain styles or formats but with ever-evolving ideas and approaches. Altogether, the exhibition demonstrates both the artist’s knowledge and understanding of art history as well as his proficiency with both traditional and modern mediums.

According to the Gallery: “As Günther Förg certainly is among the most important German painters of the last decades, we are glad to show paintings from the last 30 years that provide a good insight in Förg’s painterly work. We can present examples of his famous lead paintings (especially a beautiful triptych from 1986), of his so-called window paintings, and relatively early paintings from the 1980s that reflect his approach to working with architecture and defining the space with his painting. In particular, the large-format Rivoli from 1989, which he made for a one-man show at the Castello di Rivoli, belongs to this group of paintings that try to shape the surrounding space. And, very characteristically for Förg, it combines both geometrical and gestural abstraction.” —Jörg Paal, director, Galerie Thomas

See works from the exhibition below.


Günther Förg, Ohne Titel (triptych) (1986). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas.

Günther Förg, Rivoli (1989). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas.

Günther Förg, Genter Serie (1998). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas.

Günther Förg, Ohne Titel (2006). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas.

Installation view of “Günther Förg.” Courtesy of Galerie Thomas.

Günther Förg” is on view at Galerie Thomas, Munich, through October 15, 2022.


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