Artist biography

German painter, sculptor and photographer. He studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich from 1971 to 1974 and was part of the post-war generation of German artists for whom modernism had become tainted with the horrors of Fascism. Ranging from sculpted heads through abstract painting to architectural photography, much of Förg's work displays a preoccupation with processes of fragmentation and visual or physical resistance exemplified by the grainy quality of his photographs and his assertive use of glass as a barrier that separates the viewer from the surface while projecting his image onto it. Architectural motifs lend themselves particularly to such treatment. Colonia Marina, Calambrone (1986; London, Tate) is part of a series of images of children's holiday camps built in the 1930s by the Italian Fascist regime. In an untitled photography installation (exh. Tokyo, Touko Mus. Contemp. A., 1991; see 1992 exh. cat. pp. 32–6), Förg addressed the Bauhaus Dessau building in a manner that subverts the grandeur of the architectural project, offering a series of fragmentary images of a singularly monolithic structure. Förg's painting style is thoughtfully anachronistic, sometimes recalling the self-assurance of Mondrian's work in geometrical composition, sometimes the more mystical Barnett Newman. The toxic and heavy surfaces of an untitled work of 1990 (Santa Monica, CA, Broad A. Found.), consisting of 22 paintings on lead-covered wooden panels, comment on the legacy of history borne by contemporary art.

Bibliography
Gunther Förg: The Threat of Serenity (exh. cat., Llandudno, Mostyn A.G., 1992)
E. Gillen, ed.: German Art from Beckmann to Richter: Images of a Divided Country (Berlin, 1997)

ZACHARY BAKER
10 December 2000

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