Cover Overlay Knoebel_3

We are dedicating this edition of our #WorkoftheWeek to a series of works by Imi Knoebel. 

Born 1940 in Dessau, Germany, Knoebel became a student of Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1965. Although the stylistic and formal influences of Beuys never became visible in Knoebel’s work, his conceptualism is routed in the ideas of his highly influential teacher.
Here in Zurich, a retrospective of Knoebel’s work was shown at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in 2018, and his work is well represented in numerous international collections.

Our series of five DIN-A4 drawings from 1972 showcase the beginning of a career-spanning systematic and serial approach to creating abstract art. In these drawings, Knoebel dedicated himself to fully exploring the formal and spacial possibilities of line drawing. His later series, often in bright colors, will follow the same thorough investigation of the possible configurations of a composition. 

Executed in thick carpenter pencil on regular, hole-punched office paper, these drawings also highlight the beginnings of Knoebel’s continued use of media foreign to fine art production. For other works, the artist will use particle board, foil and aluminum, among other materials not usually found in fine arts. 

In these early drawings, Knoebel lays the foundation for his study into the possibilities of abstract art that will span the next five decades. 

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Imi Knoebel
(born 1940)

Five DIN-A4 Drawings, 1972
Pencil on hole-punched A4 paper
29.5 x 20.8 cm

Each sheet signed and dated verso: „Imi 72″

Galerie Wilma Lock, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Private collection, Switzerland

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Imi Knoebel, Werke 1966-2014, Kerber Verlag, see comparison p. 59


Imi Knoebel, born 1940 in Dessau as Klaus Wolf Knoebel, student of Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, has been described as one of the artists of post-war abstract art with the most systematic approach. Knoebel refers to himself as „painter“ rather than „artist“, and thereby emphasizes on the notion of craftsmanship in making art. Using Kasimir Malewitsch’s Black Square of 1915 as a zero point, he takes it as an opportunity to start something new and, similar to Malewitsch, aims to create icons of his own time. Both color and line have always been important topics for Knoebel in that respect. While Blinky Palermo was an inspiration for the use of color, Knoebel thoroughly researched the application of line in space by means of an extensive series of studies.
Recent solo exhibitions of Imi Knoebel’s work have been shown at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2018); Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany (2016); Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot, France (2016) and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (2015).