A.R. Penck (actually Ralf Winkler, 1939 (Dresden) – 2017 (Zurich)) was one of Germany’s best-known artists and as an exponent of gestural painting and graphic art forms part of neo-expressionism or the “Neue Wilde” movement, along with the likes of Georg Baselitz, Elvira Bach, Jörg Immendorff, and Markus Lüpertz.
Both his experiences of the war as a child in the 1940s and his fascination for prehistoric people and animals are condensed in his art. The simplicity of his repertoire stretches all the way to stick figures, standing in sharp contrast with a great degree of reflection and functioning similarly to the cave paintings that fascinated him so much as a child.
Penck applies economical abbreviations, abstract symbols, and scattered motifs in his images and graphics, doing without all kinds of scenery and perspective. The observer is confronted with a kind of hidden object and traverses the artist’s thought process as well as his image-creation process.
A.R. Penck was featured in “documenta” several times between the 1970s and 1990s. His works are not only to be found in German museums (e.g. the Städel in Frankfurt or the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich), but also in international collections (e.g. the MoMa in New York).
“Inhibitions are the wrong form of resistance.”