One of the foremost artists of his generation, Knoebel’s multi-faceted oeuvre spans more than 50 years, incorporating drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, projection and installation. His work explores the relationship between space, picture support and color. The style and formal concerns of his painting and sculpture have drawn comparisons with the high modernist principles of both Kazimir Malevich and the Bauhaus.
Imi Knoebel was born in Dessau in 1940. He studied under Joseph Beuys at the Staatliche Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, where he still lives and works. Since the 1960s, Imi Knoebel has continuously developed his emphatically minimalist oeuvre. Beginning in 1964, when he was a student of Joseph Beuys, his analytical work series have reflected a growing concern with the interplay of color and form.
“I thought: everything has been done already. Yves Klein has painted his canvas blue, Lucio Fontana has cut slashes into his. What’s left? If you want to do something, to stay alive, you have to think of something at least as radical."
Knoebel’s practice is resolutely formal, exploring the effect and power of colour and materials in ways that continue the gestures and investigations of Modernism, in particular drawing influence from the geometrical abstractions of Malevich and Mondrian. His work is open-ended, it rejects any notions of spirituality potentially attached to pure abstraction. Frequently working in groups or series, Knoebel revisits certain themes and materials time and again at different points in his career. His work is represented in some of the most important public collections including: Dia: Beacon and Dia Art Foundation, Berardo Museum, Lisbon; Broad Contemporary Art Museum, Santa Monica; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; MOMA, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; MMK Frankfurt; Norton Museum, West Palm Beach; Sammlung Goetz, Munich , and many others.