The Michael Werner Kunsthandel is delighted to present the exhibition ‘Markus Lüpertz – New Paintings’. The Cologne show follows two large retrospective exhibitions in the US (Hirshhorn Museum and Phillips Collection in Washington, DC from May to September 2017) and a further exhibition in the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig called ‘Max Klinger/Markus Lüpertz – Contemporary Art’ (January to September 2017). Not only these current shows but also shows that have taken place over the last two years in Bilbao, St. Petersburg, Paris, Beijing and Shanghai, all bear witness to the international acclaim that surrounds Markus Lüpertz‘ work (* 1941 in Liberec, Bohemia).

In recent years, the theme of Arcadia has played a central role in Lüpertz‘ artistic endeavour. Orpheus, Eurydice, nymphs, centaurs and other mythological figures interact on the abstract terrain of his canvasses. The images are often associated with images handed down from Art History, but the mythological content is peripheral. Markus Lüpertz‘ interest is focused entirely on the medium of painting itself, the interplay of colour and form, which he develops with unswerving aesthetic intuition. The artist has emphasized in countless interviews over the past decades that he is not interested in motifs as such, but that his sole concern is with painting and finding forms that lend themselves to be treated in an abstract way.

„I don’t have a concept – it’s an emotion… I paint in order to create a picture. This involves a foreground, middle ground and background. It also involves perspective, a figure… What is the sky in a picture? It’s not the sky we see outside, nor the sky that’s captured in a photographic image. It’s a painted sky… And that’s why I create paintings that look like paintings, but that do not have any story behind them and do not contain any theoretical concepts, but rather create an atmosphere. They do not depict living things nor do they relate to social or political problems. They are images of painting.“ (Lüpertz, ‘Markus Lüpertz in conversation with Peter Doig’ in MARKUS LÜPERTZ. PLAYERS BALL, Michael Werner Gallery London, 2014)

It is ironic that, at a time when art appears to enjoy unlimited freedom of expression, Lüpertz‘ classical themes have been the source of misunderstanding for many critics. He is an artist who creates enigmas and sees his role, as Nietzsche once put it, as a seeker rather than a solver of mysteries. This may explain why appreciation of this artist is sometimes problematic in our times, which seek salvation in demystifying every conceivable riddle.