Press Release
20 October 2004
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Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of 'Standart'sculptures by the influential and prominent German artist, A.R. Penck. Born Ralf Winkler in Dresden in 1939, A.R. Penck lived in East Germany until 1980. He was unable to escape unnoticed to the West before then, due to his early success and prominence in cultural circles, in both East and West Germany.

The exhibition focuses on early, rare and lesser-known works, autobiographical in some cases, made from 1971 to 1986. Often referred to as 'constructions' they were created with common and found objects such as wood, bottles, boxes, felt, cans, masking tape, wire and books. These were among the only types of materials available to him while living in East Berlin, given the scarcity and limited access to more precious materials such as bronze, steel, and stone. Recurring forms, symbols and totems are evident in these 'constructions' illuminating a theory and iconography which continue to be key elements in both his paintings and sculptures. These works look as contemporary today as they did over thirty years ago.

Principally it's part of my 'Standart' theory. 'Standart' is also to do with the idea of objects which stand. My original idea was to erect something under socialism'In the other hand, totem, fetish and taboo remain effective ideas in the west since Freud, and still have a certain influence on life and ideas' see totem, too as an expression of something that a person desires but denies her or himself.
--A.R. Penck

A.R. Penck is an influential and galvanizing artist and this exhibition should provide valuable insight into an aspect of his work which is lesser-known, yet crucial to the development of his iconography. His sculptures, paintings and drawings have drawn him international acclaim; the works of A.R. Penck are represented in major public and private collections in the United States and Europe, and have been featured in the biennials in Venice and São Paulo and Documenta V, VI, VII and IX.

'A.R. Penck: Constructions'will be on view from 20 October 18 December 2004. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Please contact the gallery for more information.