A survey exhibition of Günther Förg’s sculptures, titled ‘surface of bronze’, opens at Hauser & Wirth Zürich, focusing on this artist’s work from the mid 1980’s through to 2008. The exhibition presents rarely, and never before seen, pieces to contextualise this important part of Förg’s multifaceted, complex and varied practice. As an artist he insistently, and resolutely, questioned and expanded upon Modernism’s formal vocabulary in a laconic oeuvre that encompassed painting, photography, drawing and sculpture. This presentation will highlight how he upturned and challenged classical bronze, translating it with his tactile, painterly and spontaneous methods. Förg’s bronze sculptures do not reflect on an aesthetic order or classical perfection but display his delight in the act of making and in the sensual presence of the work. This is evident in the depressions, scratches and imprints strewn over the surfaces of his sculptures, which vary from intimate to monumental and from reliefs to free-standing.
Günther Förg’s career began in the early 1970s, at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (1973 – 1979), where he studied under Karl Fred Dahmen, one of the most important and highly influential figures of Art Informel. Supplementing his understanding of gestural abstraction, Förg attended exhibitions at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich, which played an essential role in the development of the West German art scene. The gallery presented a host of international artists, including Robert Ryman, Sol LeWitt, Blinky Palermo, and Cy Twombly, the latter two of whom Förg cited as seminal influences. Förg was included in his first group show at Galerie Max Hetzler, Stuttgart, in 1981, presented alongside contemporaries Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen, whose shared artistic approach demonstrated a subversive reframing and critical understanding of modernist tropes. In rejecting formal adherence, Förg embarked on what would become a lifelong commitment to the conceptual and serial-matic advancement of art.
Förg’s work is held in numerous public collections, including Broad Contemporary Art Museum, Santa Monica CA; Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, AT; Fotomuseum Winterthur, CH; Kunstmuseum Basel, CH; Museo d ́arte contemporanea Castello di Rivoli, Turin, IT; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, ES; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, DE; Museum of Modern Art, New York NY; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco CA; S.M.A.K. the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, BE; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL; Tate, London, UK; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis IL; among others. Recent important solo exhibitions include the travelling exhibition ‘A Fragile Beauty’ at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas TX (2018), and ‘Günther Förg. Works from 1986 – 2007’ at Hauser & Wirth New York (2019).
Scritto da Zero Zurich