Günther Förg was a painter, sculptor, and photographer best known for the use of brightly saturated solid colors and the use of lead or copper supports. Considered as an abstract and Minimalist artist, he is also defined as one of the pioneers in exhibiting multi-disciplinary works, pre-dating much of installation art. His first monochrome paintings using wood, copper and lead appeared in the mid-1970s in opposition to the figurative German art movement The New Wild (Das Neue Wilden). His paintings in abstract styles recall Cy Twombly, Ellsworth Kelly and others.
Günther Förg was born in Füssen (Germany) and was graduated in 1979 at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. He taught at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe and at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. In his early works, Förg painted almost exclusively black monochrome canvas in acrylic, which, with the addition of a translucent grey, produced a milky, veiled surface effect. He stated: “Grey is nothing: not white, not black. Something in between. Not concerned with the figure. Something free”.
In the beginning of the 1980s, he started focusing on photography by shooting very large formats of famous architectural sites such as the Wittgenstein House, Casa Malaparte, Casa del Fascio, and Hans Poelzig’s IG Farben Building in Frankfurt. He also made his so-called Alubilder, an assemblage of aluminium sheets including painted linear patterns or portrait photographs. For his series of paintings on lead, dating from the 1980s and 1990s, he wrapped lead sheets over wood, then painted each surface with acrylic.
In the 1990s, many of his large-scale lattice images were created, demonstrating Förg‘s understanding of how to unite geometric rationality of form with an intuitive color scheme, to create moods and advance discussions.
Amongst many exhibitions, Gunther Förg was showed at the Documenta in 1992, and won the Wolfgang Hahn Prize in 1996. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam); National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); Museum für Monderne Kunst (Frankfurt); Ludwig Museum (Cologne); Tate Modern (London); Museum of Modern Art (NY); SFMoMa (San Francisco) and Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum für Gegenwart (Berlin).