"Colour is the only theme I need." This was the artistic credo of Gotthard Graubner (1930-2013). In his "colour space bodies" the Düsseldorf artist gave colour three-dimensional depth by painting onto gently bulging canvases stretched over synthetic wadding. Unlike the traditional two-dimensional picture plane, that can be seen and imagined as a piece cut from a larger totality, Graubner's colour cushions are self-contained units. They give colour a body that seems to breathe; their softness and curves take on sensual qualities.
The art historian Max Imdahl has described these works as "picture objects". The tangible physicality of the picture support and the immeasurability of the colour space are inseparably interwoven. Colour is materialized, while the picture support is dematerialized in the experience of colour. Standing in front of the "colour space bodies", the viewer has a double experience, as Graubner once said: "Viewers can lose themselves in the colour spaces, but also potentially find themselves. These two poles are an important aspect of this work: perhaps focussing attention on oneself requires an element of losing oneself."
With around 30 works from four decades (1960 - 2000) the exhibition offers an overview of the work of this great German painter. After Gerhard Richter (2014) and A. R. Penck (2015), the show completes a three-part series at Neues Museum Nuremberg with works from the Böckmann Collection. With additional paintings from the Marianne and Hansfried Defet Endowment and from the City of Nuremberg's collection of international contemporary art, the exhibition highlights the close links between the works in the Böckmann Collection and those already owned by the museum.
The accompanying booklet for the exhibition, which you can obtain free of charge when you visit the exhibition, can be viewed online as a PDF or downloaded here.