Tents: Early Dithyrambs
29 March through 25 May 2007
8 March 2007

Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present "Markus Lüpertz: Tents: Early Dithyrambs" from 29 March to 19 May 2007. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to view key early works by this important artist.

In 1963 Markus Lüpertz embarked on the series of "dithyrambic" paintings, his first independent and mature works. The ancient term "dithyramb" refers to ecstatic songs and rituals honoring the god Dionysus and was used by the artist to describe a working state of excited improvisation and spontaneous invention, at a time when he was searching for new aesthetic forms in his painting. Markus Lüpertz's earliest "dithyrambic" pictures were pictorial inventions of sculptural forms in planar space that lie somewhere between abstract and representational imagery: forms evocative of architecture or figuration, though not always overtly so. The artist later augmented his practice of inventing forms by seeking fresh inspiration and new motifs from a variety of unlikely and banal sources, and in 1965 began the series of paintings depicting tents and tent-like forms the artist called "diamonds".

Taken from illustrations in a department store catalogue, the given motif of the tent offered Markus Lüpertz a way to further develop his ideas of abstraction and pictorial invention through theme and variation. Not having to invent a new motif, the artist was free to explore line, form and color while movingly fluidly between pictorial representation and abstract invention. The resulting objects, writes Siegrfied Gohr, are ''...both real and unreal...the point was the poetical effect of the painting, beyond questions of the motif." Here the adjective "dithyrambic" comes to refer not only to the artist's state of heightened creativity but also to the mood of "poetic reverberation" of a seemingly banal source. The vibrant immediacy of these works resonates with the viewer even today, as this presentation of the works makes clear.

Markus Lüpertz was born in 1941 in Liberec, Bohemia (the current Czech Republic). From 1956 to 1961 he studied at the Werkkunstschule Krefeld and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Upon moving to Berlin in 1963 he created his first significant works, the 'Dithyrambische Malerei' and later co-founded Galerie Groÿgörschen 35. Since the 70's, Lüpertz has been the subject of many international exhibitions, including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Kunstsammlung Nordhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; IVAM Centro Julio Gonzalez, Valencia; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, among others. Markus Lüpertz is the director of Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, a position he has held since 1988. He is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Villa Romana prize, the Deutches Hritikverband Award and the Julio Gonzalez prize, awarded by the Council of the Generalitat Valenciana and the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM). Markus Lüpertz lives and works in Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe, Germany.

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10am until 6pm. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue featuring an essay by Siegfried Gohr. For more information please contact the gallery.