‘… a painting is like a window’ - Günther Förg
With its bold red lattice emblazoned across a pale background, and reinforced by a dark blue arch at its upper edge, Untitled embodies Günther Förg’s conviction that ‘a painting is like a window’ (G. Förg, quoted in ‘An Interview with Günther Förg’, The Print Collector’s Newsletter, vol. 20, no. 3, 1989, p. 82).
A recurrent motif throughout the artist’s multidisciplinary practice, its crossbar shape evolved from his fascination with the relationship between architecture and art. The work comes from the collection of the renowned gallerist Mikael Andersen, who invited Förg to undertake a residency at the Studio House in Vejby Strand in 2001. Created during that time, the work recalls the high windows of the studio in which Förg worked: the liberating experience of looking through the expanse of the wide windows from the one-storey Studio House, designed by the architectural firm Henning Larsens Tegnestue A/S just one year prior, is captured in its majestic scale and open form. At the same time, however, Förg’s window transcends its literal connotations. It is no longer a gateway to the world – as painting had long been conceived throughout art history – but rather a window onto the interaction of fibre, pigment and brush. As such, it underlines the dualism intrinsic to the medium, which fascinated Förg: the rational, distilled geometry of the frame, and the sensual, unapologetically physical quality of painting.
Simple yet subversive, Förg’s visible brushstrokes play with the versatile character of the medium. Working on canvas, the artist engages with the essence of painting on a physical plane, as well as its ability to show and to reveal. Like his lead paintings, he explains, ‘the composition of [the work] is anonymous whereas the manner in which [it] has been painted is expressive’ (G. Förg, ibid.). In teasing the overlap between the rigid and rational form of the architectural grid and the tactile imperfection inherent to the hand-painted line, this elegant work encapsulates the thrilling contradiction at the heart of Förg’s practice. As the artist himself notes, he is taking painting ‘to the edge ... beyond the subject’ (G. Förg, quoted in D. Ryan, ‘Talking Painting: Interview with Günther Förg,' Karlsruhe 1997, http://www.david-ryan.co.uk/Gunther%20Forg.html [accessed 10 March 2020]).
Post Lot Text
This work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as no. WVF.01.B.0627.
We thank Mr. Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided on this work.