A. R. Penck

Work

Text

From abstracted figures and signs A. R. Penck created a universal vocabulary and used it to analyse the relationship between society and the individual. Through his multi-media works, consisting of painting, sculpture, drawing, print, film, music, and manifestoes, he developed an unique style, the formal language of which led to enormous popularity, even beyond the limits of the traditional art system. Although he lived in the GDR until 1980, his gallerist Michael Werner arranged a solo exhibition in Cologne in 1968. In 1971 he also had a solo show in Haus Lange in Krefeld and in 1972 took part in documenta 5. In 1971 Fred Jahn organised his first exhibition in Munich at Gallery Heiner Friedrich.

Characteristic of this seemingly simple yet memorable pictorial cosmos are his humorous reflections, his emotional impetus and a theory that underpins his entire artistic project, one he had been developing from the late fifties on. In dealing with modern cybernetics, Penck found his conceptual inventory, including terms such as system, element, function, information, and standard, among others. This led him to experiment with signs and their constellations as well as the signifying character of signs and symbols. The term ‘system’ became essential and overarching; he referred to the “picture as system – system as picture”.

Penck, who was born in 1939 as Ralf Winkler and died in the spring of 2017 in Zurich, was subjected to reprisals and restrictions due to his status as a non-conformist artist under the GDR regime. In 1980 he was relocated to West Germany. This new world of experience resulted in a new type of painting, which, as he himself said, became increasingly more dynamic and abstract. Inner conflicts with capitalism and the situation after the end of the Cold War introduced new themes into his work; influences from free jazz and rock were also present. Serious self-analysis, which Penck had undertaken from the start, regularly prompted him to adopt pseudonyms – one being A. R. Penck, named after an ice-age researcher, or Mike Hammer – each of which stood in relation to his personal, social or political situation.

Vita

1939

Born Ralf Winkler on October 5th in Dresden

1953—1954

Painting and drawing lessons with Jürgen Böttcher

1955—1956

Apprenticeship as a draftsman at VEB DEWAG (Volkseigener Betrieb Deutsche Werbe- und Anzeigengesellschaft), which he aborts

Unsuccessfully applies to the art academy in Dresden

Gets to know Hans-Georg Kern (Baselitz)

1961

Participates in the annual exhibition “Junge Künstler. Malerei” of the Academy of Arts of the GDR. The pictures are panned by critics

1965

Takes part in an exhibition in the Pushkin House in Dresden.

Makes the acquaintance of Michael Werner through Georg Baselitz

1966

Admission as a candidate into the Association of Creative Artists (VBK), later rejected by the jury (1969)

1968

Adopts the pseudonym A.R. Penck, referring to the geologist and ice age researcher Albrecht Penck (1858-1945)

First solo exhibtion at Galerie Hake, Cologne, organized by Michael Werner

1971

Founding member of the group “Lücke” (until 1976)

1972

Participation at documenta 5 in Kassel

1974

Receives the International Prize of the Triennale in Switzerland

1975

First retrospective in the Kunsthalle Bern

Awarded theWill-Grohmann-Preis of the Akademy of the Arts in West Berlin

1977

Participation at documenta 6 in Kassel

Meets Jörg Immendorff in East Berlin, they found a artists’ collective

1980

Departure to the Federal Republic of Germany

Friendship with Markus Lüpertz and Per Kirkeby, visits to Joseph Beuys

1981

Awarded the Rembrandt Prize of the Goethe-Stiftung Basel

1982

Participation at documenta 7 in Kassel

Editor of the magazine “Krater und Wolke”

1983

Participation at 17. Biennale of São Paulo

Move to London, later to Dublin

1984

Represents the Federal Republic of Germany at the 41st Venice Biennale with Lothar Baumgarten

1985

Awarded the art prize of the city of Aachen

1987

Receives the Art Prize of NORD / LB

1989

Professorship at the Art Academy Düsseldorf

1991

Studio in Berlin

1992

Participation at documenta 9 in Kassel

1998

Extensive touring exhibition in Japan

2003

Lives and works in Dublin, Irland

2017

Dies on May 2, 2017 in Zurich

Selected Shows

2019

A. R. Penck. "Ich aber komme aus Dresden (check it out man, check it out)" – Albertinum, Dresden

A. R. Penck. Jetzt 1988 (Now 1988) – Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf

2018

A. R. Penck. Memorial to an Unknown East German Soldier – Michael Werner, New York

A. R. Penck. Transformer – Jahn und Jahn, Munich

2017

A.R. Penck – Fondation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence

Rodin, L’exposition du Centenaire – La Réunion des musées nationaux, Grand Palais, Paris

Animal Farm – The Brant Foundation, Connecticut

Landschaften – Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf

A.R. Penck – Galerie Kewenig, Palma

2016

Markus Lüpertz and A.R. Penck. In Dialogue – Lee Eugean Gallery, Seoul

A.R. Penck. Neue Arbeiten – Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf

A.R. Penck. Early Works – Michael Werner Gallery, New York

2015

A.R. Penck. Between Light and Shadow – Michael Werner Gallery, New York; Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf

A.R. Penck. Skulpturen – Neue & Alte Kunst, Basel

Post-Germanic Expressions. Gift from Michael Werner – The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

A.R. Penck. Early Works – Michael Werner Gallery, London

2014

A.R. Penck. Felt Works 1972–1995 – Michael Werner Gallery, New York

Germany Divided. Baselitz and his Generation – British Museum, London

Jörg Immendorff / A.R. Penck. Eine deutsch-deutsche Künstlerfreundschaft – Museum Kelkheim, Kelkheim

2013

A.R. Penck. New Paintings – Michael Werner Gallery, New York; Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf

A.R. Penck – Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf

2012

Rendez-vous der Maler II. Malerei an der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf von 1986 bis heute – Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf

The Michael Werner Collection. I sat Beauty on my knees. (...) And I reviled Her. – Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris

Abschied von Ikarus. Bildwelten in der DDR. Neu gesehen – Neues Museum, Weimar

2011

A.R. Penck. Zeichnungen und Skulpturen 1970er und 1980er Jahre – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

2010

C’est la Vie! – Musée Maillol, Paris

A.R. Penck – Kunsthalle Rostock

A.R. Penck. Vergangenheit Gegenwart, Zukunft – Museum Ludwig, Cologne

2009

Paint Made Flesh – Frist Center for the Visual Art Nashville, Tennessee; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures – LACMA, Los Angeles; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg; Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin

  1. The Great Innocents – Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld

A.R. Penck – Museum Weserburg, Bremen

2008

Paintings 1963–77 – Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen

A.R. Penck. Peinture, Système – Monde, Musée d’Art moderne de la ville de Paris

Black Swan. A Sculpture Show – Michael Werner, London

A.R. Penck. Paintings from the Eighties – Michael Werner Gallery, New York

2007

A.R. Penck. Der Begriff Modell – Neues Museum/Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design, Nürnberg

A.R. Penck. Retrospective – Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt and Kunsthalle zu Kiel

Selection – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

A.R. Penck. Bilder aus den 60er Jahren – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne; Michael Werner Gallery, New York

A Selection from 1980 to 2006 – Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau

A.R. Penck. Paintings and Drawings from the 60s and 70s – Galerie Daniel Blau, Munich

2006

A.R. Penck – Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, Markus Lüpertz, A.R. Penck – Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai

Beautiful Cynicism – Arario Beijing, Beijing

2005

A.R. Penck. Retrospective 1978–2002. Paintings and Sculpture – Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki

Works on Paper – Michael Werner Gallery, New York

A.R. Penck. New Paintings – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

First Presentation – Akademie-Galerie/Die neue Sammlung, Düsseldorf

2004

A.R. Penck. Paintings from the Seventies – Michael Werner Gallery, New York

A.R. Penck. Constructions – Michael Werner Gallery, New York

German Art from an American View – Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

2003

A.R. Penck. Weltsicht 1968–2002 – Museum Küppersmühle Sammlung Grothe, Duisburg

2002

A.R. Penck. Neue Bilder – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

2001

A.R. Penck. Frühe Bilder. Dauerleihgaben aus Privatbesitz – Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Chemnitz

2000

Georg-Kolbe-Museum, Berlin Foundation for Sculpture, Berlin

Sinclair-Haus, Bad Homburg

1999

A.R. Penck. Bronzeskulpturen – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

Kunsthalle Recklinghausen

1997—1998

A.R. Penck. German Darkness and Contemporary Symbol – Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima; The Museum of Art, Kochi

1996

A.R. Penck. Pintura y escultura –Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City

1995

Couplet 4. A.R. Penck. Sculptures – Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

A.R. Penck – Galleryism, Seoul

A.R. Penck. Zeichnungen der Jahre 1965–1978 – Sammlung Ludwig, Aachen

1993

A.R. Penck. Grossskulptur – Deutsche Bank, Luxembourg

1992

documenta 9

A.R. Penck. Bronze-Skulpturen und Zeichnungen – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

A.R. Penck in Dresden. Analyse einer Situation – Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister im Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Dresden

A.R. Penck. Standart-Modelle – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

1991

A.R. Penck. Drawings, Paintings, Sculptures and Ceramics from the Visser Collections – Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam

The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

1990

Gruppenausstellung (Penck, Hitzler, Uhlmann) – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

1989

A.R. Penck – Mary Boone Gallery, New York

A.R. Penck – Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm

1988

A.R. Penck – Nationalgalerie, Berlin

A.R. Penck. Skulpturen und Zeichnungen – Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover

Tekeningen. A.R. Penck – Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

1987

A.R. Penck. The Northern Darkness. Recent Sculpture / New Painting – Orchard Gallery, Londonderry

A.R. Penck. Zeichnungen und Druckgraphische Werke im Basler Kupferstichkabinett – Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach

A.R. Penck – Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

1986

A.R. Penck. Sculptures – Galerie Maeght Lelong, Zurich

1985

A.R. Penck. Mike Hammer Konsequenzen – Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach

1984

Venice Biennale

Galerie Watari, Tokyo

A.R. Penck. Paintings and Drawings 1980–1982 – Maeght Lelong, Zurich

Waddington Galeries, London

A.R. Penck. Recent Paintings – Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo

1983

A. R. Penck. Zeichnungen auf Wellpappe 1981/82 – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

1982

documenta 7

A.R. Penck – Galerie Lucio Amelio, Naples

A.R.Penck. 45 Zeichnungen. Bewußtseinsschichten – Kunstmuseum Bonn

A. R. Penck. Arbeiten auf Papier – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

1981

A.R. Penck – Kunstmuseum Basel

A.R. Penck. Gemälde und Handzeichnungen – Josef- Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Cologne

a.Y (A.R. Penck) T. Standart-West – Kunsthalle Bern

A. R. Penck. Frühe Bilder – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

A.R. Penck. Paintings – Sonnabend Gallery, New York

1980

A.R. Penck. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle – Städtisches Museum Leverkusen, Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen

1979

A.R. Penck. Concept of Conceptual Space – Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam

1978

A.R. Penck. Y. Zeichnungen bis 1975, Kunstmuseum Basel; Mannheimer Kunstverein, Haus des Kunstvereins, Mannheim

A.R. Penck – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur

Museum Ludwig, Cologne

1977

documenta VI

Immendorff mal Penck, Penck mal Immendorff – Galerie Werner, Cologne

1975

A.R. Penck. Penck Mal TM – Kunsthalle Bern, Bern

A.R. Penck – Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

1973

A.R. Penck – L’Uomo e l’Arte, Milan

Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich

Wide White Space, Antwerp

1972

documenta V

A.R. Penck. Training mit Standart – Galerie im Goethe-Institute/Provisorium, Amsterdam

1971

Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich

A.R. Penck – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

Zeichen als Verständigung. A.R. Penck – Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld

1970

A.R. Penck. Erstes Training mit Standart – Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

1968

Deutsche Avantgarde 3. A.R. Penck. Bilder – Galerie Hake, Cologne