Günter Umberg

Günter Umberg

born 1942 in Bonn, Germany
lives and works in Cologne, Germany and Corberon, France
read inGerman

It, the painted picture, is nothing given, nothing imagined.It is an energy system that establishes itself from within, destroys itself, renews itself.It transcends boundaries.It, the human being, is nothing given, nothing imagined.It is an energy system that establishes itself from within, destroys itself, renews itself.It transcends boundaries.

— 
Günter Umberg
read inGerman
Günter Umberg studied at the Kunstakademie (Academy of Art) Düsseldorf, the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten (National Academy of Fine Arts) Antwerp, and the Cologne Werkschulen (Schools of Applied Arts) from 1963 to 1969. He was a professor of painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie (State Academy of Art) in Karlsruhe from 2000 to 2007.
 
Between 1982 and 1988, Günter Umberg ran a non-commercial “Raum für Malerei” (Space for Painting) in Cologne, where international artists like Robert Ryman, Brice Marden, Alan Uglow, and Joseph Marioni had solo exhibitions. Umberg also curated special shows, including an exhibition at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, in 2000 and one in the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, in 2002.
 
Günter Umberg won the Fred Thieler Painting Award in 2005.
 
For more than thirty years, Günter Umberg has been painting monochrome pictures. Working against the common notion of monochrome painting, he is not interested in a minimalist gesture, an analytic approach, or a demonstration of painting as a process. He focuses rather on the definition of color – its properties and significance – as the central medium of painting, and on the translation of color into a picture. For Umberg, monochrome means vital energy; it is both a starting point and a totality.
 
The intensity of Umberg’s paintings is the result of the repeated application of color pigments and binders in a specific painting style that transforms the technical process into a spiritual one. The result is an arresting, vibrant, and spatial presence of the pictures. These are reduced to relatively small formats, to edges and sides (the picture supports are made of wood or polyvinyl and slant inward) and thus seem to activate the space around them.
 
Umberg’s monochrome pictures can be hung either as individual works or solitary units, or they can be hung in groups like archipelagoes that are precisely spaced vertically and horizontally from each other. This kind of Territorium (territory) arrangement acts as a space of perceptual experience in a pictorial and architectural sense. It creates an open and vibrant organism within the context and site in question. A Territorium is thus not a serial work, but an assembly of works created at different times that are brought together in this moment of time and space to define their surroundings.
 
Selected solo exhibitions: Fondation Fernet-Branca, St. Louis, France (with Bernard Frize) (2015); Museum für Lackkunst, Münster, Germany (2009); Museum gegenstandsfreier Kunst, Otterndorf, Germany (with Elisabeth Vary) (2009); Städtische Galerie, Karlsruhe, Germany (2006); Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2006); Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2005); Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe, Germany (2002); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (1998); Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1997); Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (1993); Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany (1991).
 
Selected museum collections: Argauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; FNAC, Paris, France; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Musée de Grenoble, France; Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; San Jose Museum of Art, San José, California; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany; Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany; Valencia Arte Contemporáneo, Valencia, Spain.

Gallery Exhibitions

Exhibition
21 Apr – 1 Jul 1998

Günter Umberg

Grünangergasse 1
1010 Vienna
Exhibition
2 Dec 1993 – 22 Jan 1994

Günter Umberg

Grünangergasse 1
1010 Vienna

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