Erich Reiling

Year of birth, place
1953, Ersingen, Germany
Role at the ZKM
Artist of the Collection
Erich Reiling was born in Ersingen in 1953. He studied (1974-78) at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung, Pforzheim, then at the equivalent institution in Munich. From 1983 to 1990 he was a Guest Lecturer at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Pforzheim, and from 1995 to 1997 at the University of Mainz. In 1986 he received a grant from the Kunstfonds, Bonn, and in 1988 won the 'Kunstpreis der Stadt Wolfsburg'. He lives in Karlsruhe.

In his early works, dating from the beginning of the 1980s, Reiling usually painted only in black and white and the grey tones in between these two extremes. Thematically, he has focused on the human figure and its placing within the picture, and has treated these very variously. Over the course of time, both figures and other forms have been reduced to diagramatic or geometric elements, and colour has gradually been introduced into his painting. The flat forms find support within the picture plane from partially gestural lines and marks; rather decorative patterns of colour are opposed to the strict formal arrangement of the picture surface. Reiling constructs his large pictures on canvas out of several layers of paint, the result being effectively a colour relief. Traces of the painting process - brushwork, scratching, overpainting, layering - remain visible. The German critic Wolfgang Hartmann has said of Reiling's work: "Order and decoration, strict and freer form, colour and non-colour have always been juxtaposed in his pictures; they make painting itself, or the notions of image, arrangement and colour, into the true subject of these picture, and so lead painting towards a new self-definition". 

Individual exhibitions (selection)

1980 Galerie Regio, Freiburg; Galerie Nicole Gonet, Lausanne
1981 Galerie Fossati, Kilchberg
1983 Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
1984 Galerie Espace, Amsterdam; Galerie van Aken, Cologne
1985 Galerie Rottloff, Karlsruhe
1987 St. Annen Museum, Lübeck
1988 Kunstverein, Bochum
1990 Kunstverein Hochrhein e.V., Bad Säekingen
1992 Galerie Metis, Amsterdam; Galerie Fischer, Baden-Baden
1993 Galerie Bismarck, Bremen
1994 »Erich Reiling: Malerei und Zeichnungen 1993 und 1994«, Kunstraum MI Posselt, Bonn
1995 Galerie Numaga, Auvernier Neuchâtel
1996 Galerie Bismarck, Bremen
1997 Freundeskreis Wilhelmshöhe, Ettlingen
Group exhibitions (selection)
1975 »Große Kunstausstellung München«, Haus der Kunst, Munich
1977 »Große Kunstausstellung München«, Haus der Kunst, Munich; »Junger Westen«, Städtische Kunsthalle, Reddinghausen
1981 »Deutscher Künstlerbund«, Kunstverein Hannover; »Darmstädter Sezession«, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt; »Gesellschaft für Freunde junger Kunst«, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden
1984 »Kunstlandschaft BRD«, Kunstverein, Hannover
1985 »Forum junger Kunst«, Museum, Bochum, subsequently at Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden; Württembergischer Kunstverein; Stuttgart
1987 »Beschaffenheit des Augenblicks«, Roemer und Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim; »Kunstpreis Bremen«, Kunstmuseum, Bremen
1988 »Vorbilder: Kunst in Karlsruhe 1945-1988«, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
1991 »Deutscher Künstlerbund«, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt; »Urfigur - Kultfigur«, Landeskunstwochen Reutlingen
1992 »Deutscher Künstlerbund«, Forum Ludwig, Aachen; »Labyrinth der Welt«, Museum Bochum
1993 »Kunst der 90er Jahre«, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe

[David Richardt, 1997]