Born 1940, Dessau, Germany
Lives and works in Düsseldorf
Imi Knoebel brings monochromatic minimalism into the 21st century. Knoebel’s education instilled in him a deep appreciation for materials, structure, and an essentialist approach to painting. At the beginning of his career he created installations out of raw wood and Masonite slabs as well as monochromatic canvases in black or white. The death of his close friend and former classmate Blinky Palermo inspired Knoebel to explore painting with color, making a series of irregularly shaped canvases in an array of single colors. Since then Knoebel’s work has been a steady and fascinating investigation into the power and impact of color over variously shaped panels, following a tradition of color study that stretches from Malevich through Mondrian to Ellsworth Kelly and is just as potent today.
Imi Knoebel studied under Joseph Beuys at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf between 1963 and 1971. Knoebel has exhibited in four separate Documenta exhibitions. In 1987 Knoebel installed his work, as well as that of Joseph Beuys and Blinky Palermo, at the inaugural exhibition at Dia Art Foundation in New York City. In 1996—97, a retrospective of his work traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Centre Julio González, Valencia. In 2009 a major retrospective was held at the Hamburger Bahnhof and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.