19 JULY – 6 OCTOBER 2013
Manfred Kuttner entered the art-world stage together with his artist friends Gerhard Richter, Konrad Lueg, and Sigmar Polke. The four artists jointly organized the Demonstrative Ausstellung (Demonstrative Exhibition) of 1963 in Düsseldorf, which was conceived to convey their radical rejection of all established art venues and to simultaneously position themselves in the art scene. This exhibition saw the founding of so-called German Pop Art and the coining of the term Capitalist Realism, which would later write art history. Kuttner, who in 1961 had left Dresden to join the Düsseldorf Art Academy, contributed abstract pictures and painted objects. In both cases he employed newly developed fluorescent Plaka paints in neon hues that otherwise tended to find application in advertising graphics. He thus associated the aesthetics of Pop Art with non-objective painting in his pictorial works. Kuttner’s pieces occupy a special place within the art of the early 1960s in that they can be clearly classified neither within a formal context (Op, Zero, Minimal) nor a figurative one (Pop, Nouveau Réálisme). Kuttner shared with Lueg, Polke, and Richter an interest in exploring painting and its potential for integrating reality into the image. Yet in contrast to his fellow artists, Kuttner placed less emphasis on figurative and representational works with motifs taken from popular culture than on the method of engendering his own connection to reality through the act of painting. Paul Cézanne’s special approach to painting light, on the one hand, and Yves Klein’s use of colour, on the other, influenced Kuttner’s main interest: painting moving colour.
Manfred Kuttner concluded his career as an artist before it could even truly begin: in 1964 he withdrew from the art world due to economic considerations. Thanks to the individuality of his works, Kuttner’s oeuvre is still highly topical today and touches on topics of a younger generation of artist, such as Tauba Auerbach, Günter Förg, Laura Owens, Anselm Reyle, Thomas Scheibitz, Sue Williams and Christopher Wool.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the first monograph on Manfred Kuttner will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, featuring essays by Christine Mehring, Birgit Hein, Thomas Scheibitz, and Franz Erhard Walther, an introduction by Andreas Baur, Christiane Maria Schneider, and Marcus Weber, along with a catalogue raisonné and an extensive chronology compiled by Sabine Sense and Marcus Weber.
© Images Langen Foundation