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 Imi Knoebel  (1940 - )

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Lived/Active: Germany      Known for: Minimalist, abstract painting and sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Imi (Klaus Wolf) Knoebel (b. 1940-)

Born as Klaus Wolf Knoebel on December 31, 1940, he spent his childhood near Dresden and moved to Mainz with his family in 1950.  From 1962-64,  Imi Knoebel studied at the Darmstadt "Werkkunstschule", in a course based on the ideas of the pre-Bauhaus course taught by Johannes Itten and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy.  At the school Knoebel met Rainer Griese.  They both used the first name "Im", an abbreviation the friends used to say good-bye.  Fascinated by the teacher Joseph Beuys, the two friends transferred to the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1964.

In 1968, Knoebel created his first major work, an installation called Raum 19, named after classroom No. 19, which Beuys had given to his students at the academy.  At that time Imi Knoebel already studied the relationship between space, picture support and color in analytical series.

He was indebted to a second guiding spirit, Kasimir Malevich, for the idea of the reduction of a painting to its elemental co-ordinates.  After purist linear pictures, light projections and white pictures (1972-75), Knoebel first used color in 1974.  From 1975 to date, Imi Knoebel has been working on a group of works called Mennigebilder, named after an anti-corrosion paint used in steel construction by the name of Mennige Paint, which the artist has used in these works.

In the second half of the 1970s, after these polygonal boards, even freer forms appeared, which contained the full color spectrum. Projects such as Deutsches Tor and Kinderstern, both realized in 1988, reveal the artist's social and political commitment.  In 1999, Knoebel ordered 7000 packets of "IMI Starkreiniger" (Cleaner) at "VEB Waschmittelwerk Genthin", trying to make an ironic comment on the political situation of the time.  

Imi Knoebels was shown in individual exhibitions at museums in Düsseldorf in 1975, Winterthur and Bonn in 1983 and Hamburg in 1992 and 2003.  He also participated in important group exhibitions such as "documenta 5", "6", "7" and "8".

In 1996 the Munich "Haus der Kunst" staged a large retrospective of his works.

Source:
Ketterer Kunst Auctions

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