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Günther Förg’s Colour Geometry

Press Release   •   Feb 15, 2017 08:45 GMT

Günther Förg: Umtitled (2001)

One of the art world's most prominent modern German names is Günther Förg. At this year's first auction at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen we present three of his works – two paintings and a ceramic dish.

The predicate of "multi-artist" has often been used on Günther Förg (1952-2013), whose visual expression is wide-ranging – from paintings, drawings and sculptures to ceramics, graphic design and photography. He grew up in post-war Germany, and like many of his contemporary European artists Förg sought to develop a visual idiom that both matched contemporary society and mirrored the horrors of the past. For instance, he juxtaposed avant-garde utopian ideals with brutal Fascist ideology in his photographs of modernistic and political buildings from Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy.

European and American Inspirations

The idiom in Förg’s paintings is abstract-geometrical and his work often focuses on an exploration of the concept of space. Within this field of his production Förg was inspired by the minimalist Bauhaus aesthetics, but a parallel to American abstract art can also be seen, such as Mark Rothko’s coloured surfaces, and the geometric rationalism of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.

Förg was very interested in colour, material and texture, which the auction’s two paintings are examples of. They are from 1994 and 2001 respectively. Both are divided into square surfaces – one in complementary colours of orange and blue, the other in orange and dark blue almost black. The latter is part of the series of paintings that Förg created on lead plates rather than canvases. For Förg the advantage of using metal as a surface was that it gave the painting a structure and weight that would have otherwise had to be created on its own on a traditional canvas”, says Niels Raben, head of modern art at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.

In a conversation with the American artist David Ryan in 1997, Förg stated the following about these paintings:

I like very much the qualities of lead - the surface, the heaviness. Some of the paintings were completely painted, and you only experience the lead at the edges; this gives the painting a very heavy feeling - it gives the colour a different density and weight. In other works the materials would be explicitly visible as grounds. I like to react on things, with the normal canvas you often have to kill the ground, give it something to react against. With the metals you already have something - its scratches, scrapes …”

The third work that we can present from the artist is a one of a kind ceramic dish from 1995. With clay as his material Förg achieves a similar effect as he does with his paintings. The dish is painted in a geometric pattern with white, brown and green colours, but the clay’s structure is still clearly felt in the dish.

Modern art auction

Auction: 7 March at 4 pm at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen

Preview: 23-27 March at the same address

View the works by Günther Förg

Read more about the auction

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.