Over a career spanning five decades, Günther Förg (1952–2013) developed a distinctive and prolific body of work, including experiments in abstraction and monochrome painting, against the general trend of figurative painting predominant in Germany in the 1980s. Wall paintings, sculptures, large format photographs, portraits and architectural views, as well as drawings and graphics, executed in a range of mediums, bear witness to the innovative diversity of the artist’s approach. Universal concepts of form, mass, proportion, rhythm and structure constitute a common thread in his work. From the late 2000s, Förg’s painting took a brighter and more gestural turn, resulting from an intuitive approach to colour and composition.
‘Art, artists, architecture, landscapes, films and literature are all constant sources of inspiration for Günther Förg, and the notion that art is generally more likely to be derived from other art than from nature comes through in his various work cycles and series as well. His spontaneity of conception and dynamic gesture is contrasted with complex references and their associated meanings. Förg is concerned with self-reflecting experience and self-analysis in painting. By referring to the most diverse of artists from widely varying eras and styles of the 20th century, he brings out individual positions that were arguably of unparalleled relevance to artistic practice in subsequent decades, while at the same time he links periods and ideologies that were often mutually contradictory.’
Bernd Reiss, Günther Förg: Paintings, Walls, and Photographs in Günther Förg 1987–2011, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler and Holzwarth Publications, 2012