We are most grateful to Mr. Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided for the catalogue.
'Unlike Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, who aspired to clarity in their work, Günther Förg embraces ambiguity. He contrasts systems of perception only to shake our belief in their apparent logic. Confronted by Förg’s paintings, we become adrift in an atmosphere of uncertainty. Ultimately, we arrive at the realization that no system is reliable and all resolutions of order are merely momentary’ (B. Clearwater, ‘Günther Förg: Beyond Painting’, in B. Clearwater, S. Ellis (eds.), Günther Förg. Paintings/
Sculpture/ Installation, exh. cat., Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, 1989, p. 23).
The conceptual underpinnings and formal explorations present within the present lot are also motivated by other aspects of Förg’s artistic practice in which the various forms of media interact and collaborate with each other. Förg’s paintings of this size make reference to architectural structures, particularly doors and windows, creating a view into illusionistic space. A prolifc multi-disciplinarian, his art is a constant dialogue between painting, sculpture, architecture and photography. If photography can uncover the
subjective world with a clear objectivity, then abstract painting can be discussed in these terms too. As Förg has explained: ‘I switch from one medium to another, from, say, painting to photography ... if there is a key to all this diversity, then it is architecture. That is the thread that holds all these things together’ (G. Förg, interview with D. Ryan, Talking Painting, Karlsruhe 1997, reproduced at http://www.david-ryan.co.uk/Gunther0Forg.html).
Förg’s works have often been included in the long debated Modernist discussions of abstraction and colour. From Piet Mondrian’s concept of purity through pictorial grids to Barnett Newman’s ‘zip’ paintings, Förg’s application of colour exploits the basic principles of this discourse. Yet perhaps the most important key to understanding Förg’s art is to accept the contrary and contradictory nature of his work. Hailed as a ‘painter’s painter’ Förg conceives a style of painting which champions the painting itself, the objective fact of painting and its presence within our physical world.