Imi Knoebel

Born 1940.
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Imi Knoebel Biography

Imi Knoebel’s purist explorations of form, color, space, material and support have made him an important and formative voice in 20th-century Minimalist abstract art. Drawing on the high modernism of Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich, Knoebel’s oeuvre is dominated by large-scale, modular shapes and commanding color relationships, devoid of metaphor and allusion. Although Knoebel employs a pared-down, formal vocabulary, his artistic practice is remarkably varied, encompassing painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, projections and installations.

Knoebel was born in Dessau, Germany, in 1940. He studied at the Darmstadt School of Arts and Crafts, and later at the famed Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Joseph Beuys. Knoebel’s first major large-scale work, Raum 19 (named after classroom No. 19 at the Kunstakademie), announced his focus on the endlessly permutable formal relationships of installation work. While Knoebel began his career working in monochromatic tones, he began his explorations of color in 1974. Much of Knoebel’s later oeuvre is distinctive for its bright palette, as in 24 Colors for Blinky (1977), named in memoriam of his close friend and fellow painter Blinky Palermo.

Knoebel has exhibited widely throughout his career, including solo shows at Haus Der Kunst in Munich (1996), Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1996) and Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin (2009). In 2011, the historic Reims Cathedral inaugurated a series of six monumental stained glass panes created by Knoebel on the occasion of its 800th anniversary. His work can also be found in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. Knoebel currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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