Skip to content

Günther Förg

Ground Floor & 8th Floor

February 20 – March 28, 2015


Greene Naftali is pleased to present its second solo exhibition of paintings and large-scale architectural

photographs by Günther Förg.


A seminal figure in the generation of post-war German artists including Martin Kippenberger and Albert

Oehlen, Förg’s multidisciplinary practice—initiated in the mid 1970s—foregrounds a dialogue between

painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture. Always interested in a critical investigation of

modernism and its legacy, Förg challenged artistic conventions, equally considering the pictorial field, the

frame, and the physical space beyond it.


This two-part exhibition features distinct bodies of work in the gallery’s ground and 8th floor spaces. The

ground floor gallery features the United States debut of Förg's Untitled (1991), a monumental suite of ten

paintings that was originally staged in an historic exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de

Paris in 1991. Each canvas, painted in varying monochromatic color fields, references the architectural

language of the Unité d’Habitation—a utopian housing project developed by Le Corbusier in collaboration

with Nadir Afonso. Challenging the idea of painting as an isolated medium, these works explore the

medium’s potential for spatial presence: rectangles of color roam across the series of square fields,

suggesting an expanse beyond the frame and introducing the work into the realm of the physical rather

than that of the pictorial.


The 8th floor gallery presents Förg’s last series of black-and-white architectural photographs, a

continuation of his career-long investigation into buildings whose style reference the specific sociotemporal

and ideological spirit in which they were conceived. These include modernist buildings in

Moscow from the 1920s and 1930s, fascist Italian structures, and Bauhaus-style buildings in Tel Aviv and

Jerusalem. For this series Förg photographed a suite of three buildings in Eastern France whose designs

were based on sketches by Claude Nicolas Ledoux, an 18th century French architect closely affiliated with

proto modernism and utopian ideals. Approaching these buildings from alternately distant and close up

angles, Förg documented the buildings and their eccentric geometries, offering partial perspectives in

grainy focus. Framed behind window glass and printed in characteristic large-scale, these photographs

once again implicate the viewer into the work, effectively situating them within the utopian aims of prior

centuries and their eventual collapses.


Günther Förg lived and worked in Switzerland (1952-2013). Select solo exhibitions include Museum

Brandhorst, Munich (2014); Sammlung Grässlin, Sankt Georgen (2012); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2009);

Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria (2008); Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen (2006); Museum für

Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2006); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2001); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

(1995); and Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach (1989). His work has also been included in

numerous group exhibitions including Contemporary Galleries: 1980–Now, Museum of Modern Art, New

York (2011); Flashback - eine Revision der Kunst der 80er Jahre, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel (2005); Sammlung

Speck, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (1996); documenta IX, Kassel (1992); and Carnegie International, Carnegie

Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1988).


Site by exhibit-E®