A.R. Penck at Cardi Black Box, Milan

by mousse

November 3~2012

The retrospective that Cardi Black Box dedicates to A.R Penck (Dresden, 1939) – one of the major representative of German New-expressionismims – aims to document that fundamental part of his artistic production that goes from the end of the 70’s till the most recent works, exhibiting paintings and sculptures that bring back to the different phases of his research. On display about 40 pieces, among which large canvasses and sculptures, where it’s possible to track down the central themes and motifs of Penck’s aesthetic and his whole artistic investigation. Moreover, the show at Cardi Black Box gives to the public – with 14 bronzes on display – the occasion to better understand the sculptural work by Penck, to date still less known for the fewer number of shows focused on this part of his production.

A.R. Penck is one of the artist that mostly contributed to the renewal of German painting. From the beginning of his pictorial activity the artist distanced himself from traditional painting to follow an independent career, developing in the movement of new-expressionism a personal style that combines figuration and abstraction through a markedly childlike brushstroke and intense chromaticism.

Inspired by prehistoric paintings, his compositions combine pictorial signs and archaic images, composing a universal lexicon – comprehensible and usable by everybody – and an original visual world, that often have as its central theme the relationship between person and society.
In the 70’s his signs becomes more and more primordial: stylized figures and elementary symbols make their appearance and the artist almost resets his chromatic richness to use only black and white. From the end of the 70’s Penck starts to work also on sculptures, for which he uses materials such as marble, bronze and wood. His move to West Germany in 1980 marks a change toward the recovery of a bold chromatic accentuation and the introduction of tridimensionality.

With this show Cardi Black Box confirms its eclectic and versatile orientation, that looks at young artists as well as at great masters, at contemporary as well as historicized art. Orientation programmatically pointed out for the first time with the show of another great German artist, Jörg Immendorff, to whom the Gallery dedicated a solo show in 2012 titled ‘Late Paintings’.

A.R. Penck, pseudonym of Ralf Winkler, was born in 1939 in, at the time, East Germany; disliked by the communist regime because he was considered a subversive element, he was denied admission to the academy of art. His education was therefore self-taught and oriented toward varied fields, from painting to philosophy, from sciences to history of religions and music. A very rich background that will merge into the different phases of his heterogeneous artistic production that moves from painting to graphic, to the experimentation in jazz music, poetry and cinema.


at Cardi Black Box, Milan


Courtesy of Cardi Black Box, Milan