News
A.R. Penck: Between Light and Shadow
The New Yorker
16 February 2015

A.R. PENCK 

Penck, who worked (with difficulty) in East Germany until migrating to Cologne, in 1980, has put aside his impulsive pseudo-primitivism and now paints cunning, complex works in which each square inch is filled with stick figures, squiggles, crosses, and ciphers. The densely packed marks and limited palette—blue, red, green, and black—recall Keith Haring in places. But Penck’s canvases are more fraught and more ambiguous: rare moments of clear representation, a rocket ship or the words “yes” and “no,” are swallowed up in a forest of unintelligible signs. Through March 28.Penck, who worked (with difficulty) in East Germany until migrating to Cologne, in 1980, has put aside his impulsive pseudo-primitivism and now paints cunning, complex works in which each square inch is filled with stick figures, squiggles, crosses, and ciphers. The densely packed marks and limited palette—blue, red, green, and black—recall Keith Haring in places. But Penck’s canvases are more fraught and more ambiguous: rare moments of clear representation, a rocket ship or the words “yes” and “no,” are swallowed up in a forest of unintelligible signs. Through March 28.