I have been trying to get myself to draw or write or otherwise create something every day for the past few months and naturally there are days when I find myself wondering how exactly I should spend my time when I finally get to sit down with pen and pad. Whenever this happens I just think of my favorite minimalistic artists and try to build much with a little. The paintings of the German painter Günther Förg are as stripped-bare as one could be looking to find, nuanced comments on the nature of color and modernism: in other words, the wrong paintings to have on the wall if you have someone in your life with a why-do-you-like-that-my-kid-could-do-that attitude.
Mr. Förg was inspired by the modernists who had thrown the art world’s rule book out the window and looked back at modernist work with a knowingly post-modern one. Regarding the work of Mr. Forg a computer screen just doesn’t do it justice as the artist would paint on whatever medium the piece demanded. It was Förg’s commitment to casting a critical eye at the modernist movement that brought his work to the art world’s attention and it was his being within the art world that allowed him to work so diligently at deconstructing the original deconstructionists. While this work really might be boring and simple to some, I like noting what it is that Mr. Förg is placing within the context of “others”; sometimes it’s brushstrokes that look a little like desert brush, sometimes it is paintings as the object placed in a context of other paintings, sometimes it is stripes of textured paint. To notice what becomes numerous is to start to feel the stirrings of a feeling about these pieces. Making art this confident must not have been easy but I am transfixed whenever I look at Mr. Förg’s work.
Günther Förg died December 5, 2013 at 61 years of age. His works can be found in the collections of MOCA in Los Angeles, SFMoMA, Tate Modern in London, and over a dozen other institutions in Europe. May he be remembered through his work.