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Comprehensive survey of German post-war and contemporary art on view at Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong
Dirk Skreber (b. 1961), Untitled, 1992. Oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm; (39 3/8 x 55 1/8 in.).

HONG KONG.- Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong is presenting Aspects of German Art (Part One) - Revisited, a comprehensive survey of German post-war and contemporary art, featuring works by some of the most important and pioneering artists working in Germany during this period. The exhibition brings together seminal paintings, photographs and installations that provide an overview of the artistic, socio-economic and political concerns of post-war Germany, a time period when these artists were reconciling with the trauma of war, finding a national identity and constantly pushing the limits of modern and contemporary art, through to the present day.

Georg Baselitz (b. 1938) Georg Baselitz, a pioneer of the Neo-Expressionist movement in Germany, has spent his career exploring the post-war German identity, creating evocative, tormented, crudely painted and uniquely coded works of art. Considered one of the most influential and prominent living artists, Baselitz’s output includes painting, sculpture, works on paper and prints. Rendering his figures, buildings and landscapes upside down is a significant trope of Baselitz’s work, further referencing human and cultural trauma and instability.

Max Beckmann (1884-1950) One of the most important German figurative painters of the twentieth century, Max Beckmann’s work was highly informed by his harrowing experiences during both World War I and World War II. His portraits are often characterized by their fractured angularity, exaggerated and distorted human features, and amplified colours. In the 1920s, Beckmann was associated with the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement, in which its members sought to represent the sordid and disaffected post-war society of the Weimar Republic with critical and often satirical realism.

Günther Förg (1952-2013) Günther Förg, painter, photographer, sculptor and graphic designer, is most highly regarded for his monochromatic lead paintings. These tactile, minimalist works were achieved by wrapping lead over wood panels and stretchers and layering them with acrylic in either one or two colours, the lead providing a rough ground for his gestural work that was highly informed by modernism, through a postmodern lens.

Imi Knoebel (b. 1940) Imi Knoebel, a conceptual and abstract artist who has pursued drawing, painting, photography, light projection, installation and sculpture in his illustrious artistic career, has always sought to explore the relationship between space, colour and form in his work. In the 1970s, Knoebel began applying gestural and geometric forms of primary colours to plywood boards and metal plates, later developing a more minimalist approach to his colour application.

Heinz Mack (b. 1931) Heinz Mack entered the canon of art history for his part in creating ZERO, an artistic movement founded with Otto Piene in 1957. ZERO’s manifesto advocated pure and limitless possibilities in artistic creation and marked a distinct departure from the gestural language of European abstract expressionism. Mack’s early works are characterised by a minimalist, monochromatic aesthetic and a reverence for the transformative power of light.

Ernst Wilhelm Nay (1902-1968) Ernst Wilhelm Nay arrived at the height of his career in the 1950s when he shifted from expressive realism to total abstraction. Nay’s abstract paintings were characterized by bold, flat, graphic blocks of pure colour arranged in rhythmic and repetitive patterns across the picture plane, demonstrating his interest in the relationship between music, rhythm, colour and form.

A.R. Penck (b. 1939) Painter, printmaker, sculptor and jazz musician, A.R. Penck was a leader of the Neo-Expressionist movement and is renowned for his iconographic, simplified, brutally rendered paintings. Throughout his career, Penck has developed a unique pictography of geometric markings, patterns, totemic forms and figures that is wrought with tension and ambiguity, his paintings and works on paper teeming with arrestingly graphic imagery.

Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) Sigmar Polke’s oeuvre is marked by a fascination with experimentation and manipulation of artistic media. Polke printed his photographs with intentional haphazardness, underexposing, overexposing, combining negatives and positives, repeating images, creasing wet photo paper, using chemical solvents to create stains, and hand colouring blemishes made from a scratched negative. Polke would continue this experimentation in his paintings, combining pigments, solvents, resins and fabrics to produce extreme chemical reactions, forever questioning the rules of conventional art making.

Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) Gerhard Richter has found success in every stage of his varied artistic output, which has included both photo-realist and abstract painting as well as photography. Richter’s work demonstrates an unyielding exploration of colour (or absence of colour), texture, source materials, pictorial representation and abstraction—all the while moving seamlessly between artistic styles and series that are entirely unique and pioneering. Richter has garnered critical and commercial acclaim internationally and is considered one of the most important living painters.

Dirk Skreber (b. 1961) Dirk Skreber’s disquieting paintings are characterized by a cool detachment, fascination with catastrophe, and interest in the sublimity of mundane landscapes, vehicles and architecture. His uncanny compositions set photo-realist elements such as cars, trains and buildings against flat, abstracted backgrounds, often depicted from an aerial viewpoint suggestive of surveillance cameras, further emphasizing a neutrality and distance from such seemingly charged imagery.

Gert and Uwe Tobias (b. 1973) Gert and Uwe Tobias, Romanian-born twin brothers living in Cologne, work as a collaborative producing fantastical and elaborate woodcut prints, collages, ceramics, sculptures and installations. Taking inspiration from their Romanian heritage, the brothers incorporate folkloric legend and traditional craft-based practices into their work, while distinguishing it with references to contemporary culture and their own idiosyncratic pictorial language.

Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952) Rosemarie Trockel, a prolific female artist whose oeuvre includes sculpture, collage, works on paper, film and “knitted paintings,” has always strived to establish dialogues on gender politics, the role of female artists, the commoditisation of art, distinctions between fine art and craft, and cultural taxonomies through her work. Trockel is widely recognized for her signature “knitted paintings” which consist of machine-knitted wool often stretched onto frames and patterned with provocative, computer-generated logos and motifs, subverting the notion of traditionally female pursuits by altering the process and materials.

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