Retrospektive 1952-1982 | Günter Fruhtrunk

16/11 2023 – 10/3 2024

Kunstmuseum | Bonn | Deutschland

On the occasion of the 100th birthday of Günter Fruhtrunk (1923-1982), the Kunstmuseum is showing a comprehensive retrospective of the German post-war artist, focusing on the development of his work by including around 60 works from all creative phases.
Fruhtrunk’s works are characterized by clear lines, geometric shapes, and high-contrast colors. Like hardly any other artist of his time, he developed his own abstract pictorial language with great precision and fascinating perseverance, which he perfected over the years in many variations. By employing mathematical methods such as geometric calculations and ratio equations, he created optical illusions and a sense of movement, vibration, and flicker in his works. The results are enormously dense, luminous images that defy passive viewing and permanently challenge the process of seeing. It is not only this visual language that makes the work highly topical.
The exhibition illuminates the development of the work in three large blocks: it reflects Fruhtrunk’s hitherto seldomly shown early works from between 1950 and 1954, with predominantly small formats in which geometric forms float in space freely and in which image and motif still represent separate levels. The second focus is on the late 1950s and 1960s, when Fruhtrunk developed his layered striped paintings. Here, image and motif merge and color increasingly gains an independent meaning. The final works are from the 1970s and early 1980s, in which the stripe structure develops into fields and planes and the emancipation of color is fully achieved. In 1970 the creation of the iconic blue and white diagonal pattern of the Aldi Nord plastic bag occured, which Fruhtrunk designed as a commissioned work for the Aldi Group.