From March 26 to July 27, 2015, Villa Schöningen is presenting an exhibition by the German artist Markus Lüpertz (* 1941). The retrospective with over 60 paintings and seven sculptures illustrates the artistic career of Markus Lüpertz from 1966 to 2014.
At the beginning of the 1960s, Markus Lüpertz stood out powerfully from the informal painting of post-war Germany with his dynamic, figurative painting. Especially with his "dithyrambic" works, Lüpertz positioned himself as one of the artists working on the realignment of German painting: With dithyrambic (dithyrambic = song of praise to the Greek god Dionysus) Lüpertz underlines the sensual demands on his painting, but also the will for renewal . How important this aspect was to him is also shown by the fact that the works of these years have the word in the title (e.g. Baumstamm - dithyrambisch ”, 1966;“ Deutsches Motiv - dithyrambisch ”, 1972).
In dealing with German history, Lüpertz was the first after Beuys to venture in the 1970s with symbolic motifs such as steel helmets, Wehrmacht hats and emblems misused by the Nazis in large formats, thus pointing to the unresolved past.
One of Lüpertz's best-known works is the sequence of images “Men without women. Parsival ”(1994), the title of which relates to Ernest Hemingway's short stories and Wagner's opera“ Parsifal ”.
The central motif of this series is the face in its most general form, because the motifs are not portrayed or depicted. They only develop through the application of paint by the painter. Hemingway's stories are about men who seek the challenge they self-assertively face, but ultimately fail. Their relationships with women, who remain strangers to them, also fail because of the impossibility of real understanding. In contrast, the legend of Parsifal glorifies sexual abstinence in favor of divine fulfillment. These references stand for two different life plans, between which Lüpertz moves in this series as if between two opposite poles.
Greek mythology has been one of the main sources of inspiration in the art of Markus Lüpertz for years. His engagement with topics from classical antiquity continues to this day. His "Drei Graien" from 1984 (oil on canvas) and the colored bronze sculpture "3 Graces" (2000), which are shown in the Villa Schöningen, are characterized by deviations from the classical ideal of beauty and their representation represents a new interpretation of the topic, that runs through all centuries of art history.
In the six works in the "Back Nudes" series, too, the artist deals with a classic subject of the visual arts. For Lüpertz, however, this motif is only the starting point to challenge himself and the painting. Familiar levels of expectation and observation are not simply served, but are called into question. The back nudes show only fragments of the body. The figure is torn from its usual context of meaning, and new levels of perception open up. The body merely serves as a form that Markus Lüpertz uses to compose his powerful, impulsive, rhythmic painting.
Markus Lüpertz, one of the most important contemporary German artists, was born in 1941 in Liberec, Bohemia. After his family fled to the West, he later studied at the Werkkunstschule in Krefeld and the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. From 1988 to 2009 he was rector of the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He was awarded the Villa Romana Prize, the Prize of the German Association of Critics and the Julio Gonzalez Prize.
Markus Lüpertz's work has been shown around the world, including solo exhibitions at the Albertina in Vienna, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City in Beijing and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn dedicated an extensive retrospective to him in 2009.
The artist lives and works in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe.
Curated by Michael Werner