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Pierre Bergé & Associés, Brussels, Art Moderne et Contemporain, June 19, 2007, lot 80
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
“I think if there is a key to all this diversity, then it is architecture. That is the thread that holds all these things together.” Günther Förg, 1997
Günther Förg was one of the most explorative artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Never content to paint in the same fashion twice, he was likewise never content to focus solely on painting. His practice consisted of investigations into sculpture as well as drawings and prints, but possibly the most influential other medium in which he worked was photography. Untitled from 1990 in its repetitive grid format and simple rectangular forms seems to mirror one of Förg’s favorite photographic subjects – that of Modernist architecture. Fascinated by the ideas of place and impression, Förg wielded his camera as a paint brush taking grainy and off-kilter images of these radically regimented buildings. Untitled does not so much seem to permit a looking from the inside onto the landscape beyond, or from the outside into the architectural space itself, but somehow manages to be both and neither simultaneously. The viewer has an impression that the surface of each panel reflects an interiority, an exteriority, and a planar immediacy all at once.
Förg was fascinated by the potentiality of painting to manifest itself, its physicality, its materiality. His choice of lead for the strata on which he painted was directly related to this fascination. The juxtaposition of this metal with the thinned, lush strokes of his brush similarly seems to mimic Förg’s use of photography not as tool of veracity but of imagination and creative reinterpretation. Painting for him was a sensual act and these window panel-like paintings range from a fleshy pink to a deep cerulean blue, forest green and black. Even as Förg is borrowing from his own photographic practice, he never wavers in his dedication to the ability of painting to continually surprise and enrapture with its tactility and self-evidence. Each panel represents a wholly independent identity, thought, and allusion. Just as looking out different windows of a building will inherently be a different experience, the overall impression and idea remains the same. Förg’s mastery of his material without proscribed processes allowed him to organically develop both his overall oeuvre and individual paintings such as the masterful Untitled in ways that neither he nor the viewer could have ever anticipated. It is this continual self-revelatory surprise that is so enthralling in his work and which is superbly manifest in the present lot.
New York Evening Sale 14 May 2015 7pm