Untitled, 1984

39 1/2 x 27 1/2 in.

Imi Knoebel was born Wolf Knoebel in Dessau in 1940. He spent his early years near Dresden, and later moved with his mother and four siblings to Mainz. In 1964, he and his friend Rainer Giese went to study at the Academy of Arts in Dsseldorf; the following year they changed courses to study with Joseph Beuys, and from 1966 until 1969 they used Room 19 at the Academy as a studio, where their IMI identity became manifest.

It was in this now legendary room that Knoebel produced his minimalist works, which emerged from a highly puristic, experimental position diametrically opposed in many ways to the aesthetic principles of Beuys.

Among the artists of his generation, Knoebel was the mysterious, introverted one. Perhaps his most typical work (in this position) was a collection of 250,000 drawings which no one had set eyes on. They were locked, in bundles, in large wooden cupboards and these were the visible artwork. A more apt image of the hermetic seclusion of new art has never yet been conceived.

This denial of immediate access and disclosure of meaning constitutes a hermetic quality in Knoebel’s work, which has to this day enabled him to maintain the strength to oppose consumerism, the availability of art and the appropriation of the artist.

The work presented stands as a pointed refusal to give any information about itself. If one looks more closely, however, one may recognise the calculated proportions and progressions. Chance and order, chaos and system are present here in a subtle combination, which remains hidden to the fleeting glance.