VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Markus Lüpertz. Neue Bilder is the artist’s first major gallery exhibition in Berlin in more than five years, following his 2014 project at Paul-Löbe-Haus which presented a series of paintings illustrating the German constitution.

First exhibited at Galerie Michael Werner in 1968, Markus Lüpertz has proven himself an uncompromising and provocative artist, who has distinguished himself in the medium of painting as well as sculpture, drawing and poetry. Lüpertz ultimately insists on the primacy of painting in his artistic oeuvre, a fact the exhibition at VeneKlasen/Werner testifies with its presentation of recent work.

Markus Lüpertz describes his urge to paint as a “defect”, like the “pearl in the oyster”. The pearl, a rare, unpredictable and seemingly useless by-product, which fascinates us with its purity and beauty, unveils itself as a mechanism which protects the organic form from intruders and guarantees its survival. Similary, painting proves itself as fundamentally existential, but not simply for the artist. Lüpertz emphasizes the relevance of painting in society, which, from his point of view, manifests itself as culturally essential as “the air we breathe”. Lüpertz links the socio-historical state of culture to the state of painting. This interdependency leads directly to the artist´s code of practice: “Culture is everything”. Lüpertz reflects and defines his environs. It constitutes the medium, on which the artist´s vocabulary unfolds, which allows us to not only consume the world, but to also see and understand it.

The examination of this “defect” is expressed in Lüpertz’s abstract painting. Lüpertz’s appreciation for classicism and his persistent interest in the intersection of abstraction and figuration are the core concerns of the presented works. The artist borrows the classical vision of Arcadia as the setting for the large-scale paintings, the titles of which reflect his fascination with sagas and figures of Greek mythology. Lüpertz chooses to disrupt the classical depiction of mythological scenes by fragmenting figures and integrating contradictory elements into the iconography with, for example, animal skulls and steel helmets, recurring motifs out of the artist´s longstanding oeuvre. Painting, as Lüpertz states, is an innate, character moulding “defect”, which cannot be learned but can be lost. Discipline and a permanent intellectual stimulation are required in order to keep this “defect”. “The thread of thought is not allowed to get lost”, claims Lüpertz.

Markus Lüpertz was born in 1941 in Liberec, Bohemia, in the current Czech Republic. He studied at the Werkkunstschule Krefeld and at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he served as director from 1987 – 2009. Markus Lüpertz is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Villa Romana Prize, the German Critics Association Prize, and the Julio González prize. Important retrospective surveys of the artist’s work were recently presented at Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn (2009); Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2011); Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao (2014) and The Hermitage State Museum, St. Petersburg (2014). Markus Lüpertz lives and works in Düsseldorf and Berlin.