Imi Knoebel

Year of birth, place
1940, Dessau, Germany
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Imi Knoebel was born (as Wolf Knöbel) in Dessau in 1940. He studied in the early 1960s at the Werkkunstschule, Darmstadt, and here he met Ralf Giese (1942-74). The two worked together as Imi & Imi. From 1964 to 1971 Imi Knoebel studied at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, under Joseph Beuys. Knoebel lives in Düsseldorf.

While a student in Düsseldorf, Knoebel initially painted in a linear style. In 1968 he started to produce monochrome black and white planes on hardboard panels, painting the panel edges in a different colour. By means of these painted frames, Knoebel embarked on his exploration of relation between image and space. He was subsequently to pursue this in both pictorial and sculptural form, end eventually in large installations. Since the 1970s Knoebel has very variously transformed the geometry of his pictures into geometrized (though not strictly speaking geometrical) and irregulary pointed or serrated shapes, as in his multiple »Child's Star (Kinderstern)« of 1989. Knoebel also makes collages out of the material left over from painted paper cut-outs, thus playing with the notions of figure, intermediate space and background. Since 1974 colour has been of particular importance to Knoebel: he used it to transform painted surfaces into glowing objects of immediate sensual appeal. The arrangement of monochrome colour fields in relation to each other is repeatedly explored from ever new perspectives in numerous series and families of images. 

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1968 »Imi Art etc.«, Galerie René Block, Berlin; »Imi & Imi« (with Ralf Giese), Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
1969 art & project, Amsterdam
1983 Kunstmuseum Winterthur, subsequently at Städtisches Kunstmuseum Bonn
1984 »Heerstraße 16«, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg
1986 Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
1989 Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht
1991 »Betoni & Cementi«, Kanransha, Tokyo; »Grace Kelly«, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Taura; »Portraits«, Galerie Fahnemann, Berlin
1992 »Menningebilder«, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1994 »Phosphorsandwich«, Museum Fridericianum - Museum auf Zeit, Kassel
1996 »lmi Knoebel, Linienbilder 1966-68«, Kunstverein St. Gallen, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; »Jena Bilder«, Kunsthistorisches Seminar, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena; »lmi Knoebel, Rot Weiß Gelb Blau«, Ludwig Forum, Aachen; Haus der Kunst, Munich, subsequently at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Musée de Grenoble, IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzáles, Valencia
1997 Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt/M
Group exhibitions (selection) 
1984 »Von hier aus«, Messegelände, Düsseldorf
1986 »Beuys zu Ehren«, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich
1987 documenta VIII, Kassel
1988 »Zeitlos«, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
1989 »Bildeistreit«, Museum Ludwig, Rheinhallen, Cologne
1991 »Schwerelos«, Große Orangerie, Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin; »Metropolis«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
1992 »Shapes and Positions«, Kunsthalle Klagenfurt, subsequently at Museum Fridericianum, Kassel; »Geteilte Bilder - Das Diptychon in der neuen Kunst«, Museum Folkwang, Essen, »Das offene Bild«, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster
1994 »Das Jahrhundert des Multiples«, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1995 »colour and paint«, Kunstverein St. Gallen
1997 »Deutschlandbilder«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

[Frauke Syamken, 1997]