Gotthard Graubner
October 27, 2017 – November 27, 2017


With a representative exhibition of works by Gotthard Graubner (1930–2013), SCHÖNEWALD presents one of the best known and most significant German painters of the last decades, whose work is also highly acclaimed on an international level. Organised in cooperation with the artist’s estate, the exhibition features both paintings and works on paper.

Grabuner’s central artistic theme is colour in its diverse possibilities of expression. In his pictures, space, movement, and light become functions of colour, to which all else is subjugated. For many years, Graubner repeatedly explored to the idiom of colour. In doing so, he succeeded in allowing colour to appear monumental and direct, as well as in subtly modelling it in multifarious nuances.

Exemplary for the connection between colour and the pictorial object is the concept of the ‘Farbraumkörper’ (engl. ‘Colour-Space-Body’) developed by Graubner at a very early stage in his career. The canvas becomes a pillow padded with synthetic cotton batting, which allows the paint to sink deep into it and spread throughout in unpredictable ways. The paint expands in slow movements and simultaneously pulls together again – like a breathing organism. The artist formulated his credo in the distinctive equation: ‘Colour = Condensation to an Organism = Painting’. The ‘Farbraumkörper’ is Graubner’s unique contribution to recent art history and, as a concept, stands as a sign for the actual artistic effect of colour.

Graubner was born in Erlbach/Vogtland and studied at the academies in Dresden and Düsseldorf. In the artistic climate of Western European art in the 1950s, he quickly found his own unique position. Graubner was primarily interested in the particular possibilities of sensual differentiation available exclusively to the medium of painting. His art did not partake in the popular pathos of action, as cultivated by the Informel movement, nor did it consummate a ‘departure from the image’ as postulated by the Zero Group – although Graubner did indeed exhibit together at the time with his colleagues from this group.

Graubner held chairs as Professor for Painting at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts and the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. Over the decades, his works have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions. He participated in documenta 6 in Kassel (1977) and represented the Federal Republic of Germany at the Fifth Triennale India and the Venice Biennale (both 1982). In 1988, he executed two large-scale paintings for the Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the President of Germany, in Berlin.

The exhibition presents eleven ‘Farbraumkörper’ and fourteen works on paper.


Installation images