Georg Karl Pfahler
Georg Karl Pfahler (*1926, † 2002) is considered to have been one of the key exponents of hard-edge painting in Germany. After a brief period in which the artist could be ascribed to “art informel” and during which he mostly applied whirring dots of color to the canvas, he then turned towards the hard-edge art movement spilling over from America at the end of the 1950s. In contrast to the prevalent movements of the time, abstract expressionism and action painting, hard-edge painters endeavored to minimize traces of the artist and the artist’s intended expressiveness. These artists often worked with very few colors on canvas, separated from one another by so-called hard edges. The aim was to make the space, color and image impact as concrete as possible to experience, making it impossible for the image to read ambiguously. In this sense the movement was close to Concrete Art, which had a strong following in Germany with artists like Thomas Lenk and Max Bill, and is often spoken about interchangeably with hard-edge.
After turning away from “art informel” in 1958 he included the term “formative” in all of his pictures in order to emphasize the serial aspect of his painting, commencing a series that the artist would work on until the end of his life and making it difficult to divide his life’s work into periods. Pfahler’s canvases are dominated by pure colors with a clear surface distribution, while even the white of the canvas emphasizes the color’s directness and its effect on space and on the observer.
“The process of seeing is the integration of image, space, observer.” – Georg Karl Pfahler