Günther Förg was a prolific painter, sculptor, graphic designer, and photographer whose daring conceptual works incorporate and critique tropes of the sprawling movement known as modernism. This exhibition, across both galleries of the London space, displays Förg’s Spot Paintings, the artist’s final series made between 2007 – 2009 before he stopped painting in 2010 after suffering a stroke. In these works, the brushstroke itself become the main protagonist, representing an ultimate return to expressive painting, indicating a completion of sorts – a full-circle arrival at painting as a synthesis of experimentation, rooted in art history. The Spot Paintings were partially influenced by photographs Förg saw of Francis Bacon’s studio, which was covered in colourful blotches of paint created when the artist would wipe his brushes on the walls and door of the studio to remove excess paint. The contrasting colours within a bustling composition reflects the conceptual principles that underpinned Förg’s practice: a formal purism, a sense of the artwork as object and an architectural, analytical interest in space.
Günther Förg is one of the most significant German artists of the postwar generation. In the breadth of his production, from monochrome painting to colour studies, from photography to wall paintings, from bronze reliefs to sculptures, Förg explored what critic Kristy Bell describes as ‘the visual field,’ swiftly moving between mediums and series with an abruptness that so characteristically defined the artist and his work.