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Imi Knoebel

Weisse Konstellation, by the German artist Imi Knoebel (1940), is an ironic paraphrase of Modernism’s interrogation of the image and of painting. From Kazimir Malevich’s White on White square (1918) to Frank Stella’s Shaped Canvases, Knoebel’s work makes explicit reference to the multiple historical approaches of pure objectivity of the image, and to the zero point of painting through monochromy. Mounted at a slant, the two monochrome white paintings on canvas and wood, the thickness of which emphasises their spatial quality, form a confusing duo. A slight discrepancy in the angles of one panel shifts the observer’s perception of space.

Knoebel’s “works play in an unforced way with systems and structures, with the ‘emblems’ of the Modern, they use tiny deviations to tip its universal grids and orders into chaos. Transcending the limits of panel painting, Imi Knoebel’s pictures become concrete and material objects; objects of pure aesthetic perception and differentiation.” (Konrad Bitterli)

Following its inception in 1975, the work was repeated in the same way in 1996 together with other, similar works, in the same room of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, and again in a third version of 2006; these multiple realisations, which favour a theatrical reproducibility, also question the original character of a work of art.


  1. Imi Knoebel Schattenraum V, 1988

    6 planches 340 x 500 cm,
    1 cube 330 x 480 x 160 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Apport FOCUNA
    Acquisition 1998
    © Photo : Imi Knoebel

  1. Imi Knoebel Weiße Konstellation, 1975-1996

    Toile et bois
    239 x 509 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Apport FOCUNA
    Acquisition 1998
    © Photo : Andrés Lejona

Marina Abramović, "Video Portrait Gallery", 1975-1998 | Collection Mudam Luxembourg | Acquisition 2001
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