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Gerhard Hoehme

Year of birth, place
1920, Greppin, Germany
Year of death, place
1989, Neuss, Germany
Role at the ZKM
Artist of the Collection

Gerhard Hoehme was born in Greppin in 1920. Until 1951 he lived in Halle/Saale, where he studied under the writer Herbert Post. In 1952 he moved to Düsseldorf. Here he met J.-P. Wilhelm, through whom he came into contact with Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet on a trip to Paris. Hoehme became one of the first German exponents of lnformal Art, and in 1957 he was one of the co-founders of Galerie 22 in Düsseldorf. In 1960 he was awarded the Villa Massimo Prize, allowing him to spend a year in Rome. From 1960 to 1984 Hoehme was Professor of Painting at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Gerhard Hoehme died in Neuss-Selikum, in 1989.

Hoehme's work is characterized by the endeavour to expand the notional spatial range of the painted image. During the painting process itself, he sought to evade the actual edges of the canvas by placing it on the floor instead of attaching it to a upright stretcher. This offered him the chance to take space into account, which was essential to the way he worked. The final shape of the image was decided only after the painting process was complete. Repeatedly, Hoehme also introduced objects, photographs or printed matter into his pictures. From 1964 he experimented with pattern sheets. In 1965 he introduced string, as a structural element, laying it on the picture surface. From 1966 he intensified this effect by using coloured nylon string: this stood out so dramatically that the lines painted on the canvas also gave the impression of continuing out into the surrounding space. Through such means, Hoehme effectively laid claim to the space in front of the picture as an integral part of the picture space. 

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1954 Studio im Museum Wuppertal
1956 Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld
1957 Galerie 22, Düsseldorf
1964 Kunsthalle Mannheim
1968 Villa Massimo Accademia Tedesca, Rome
1972 Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg
1979 Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
1980 Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund
1985 Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart
1986 Sprengel Museum Hannover
1989 Stux Gallery, New York; Kunsthalle Kiel
1992 Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund
1994 Galerie Neher, Essen
1995 Landesgirokasse, Stuttgart
Groupe exhibitions (selection)
1956 »Interferenzen«, Galerie Vertiko, Bonn
1957 »Eine neue Richtung in der Malerei«, Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim
1959 documenta Il, Kassel
1962 »Gegenwart bis 62«, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin
1963 »Schrift und Bild«, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, subsequently at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
1970 »Konzepte einer neuen Kunst«, Kunstverein Göttingen
1972 »Druckgraphik des deutschen Informel«, Kunsthalle, Nuremberg
1974 »Surrealität - Bildrealität«, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, subsequently at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
1977 »Tendenzen der Kunst in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland nach 1945«, Szépmüvészeti Museum, Budapest
1978 »Rückschau Villa Massimo, Rom 1957/1974«, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, subsequently at Saarland Museum, Saarbrücken; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin
1982 »Bilder sind nicht verboten«, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

​[David Richardt, 1997]

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