It was not until the end of the 1970s that Immendorff (1945-2007) decided to shift his threefold existence as a political activist, teacher and painter to the side of art.
The year 1976 was key in some respects; Immendorff participated in the Venice Biennale with a flyer campaign that attacked the “deprivation of personal liberty” in the GDR and called for international artistic cooperation as a vehicle to overcome it; this was followed in 1978 by the beginning of his Café Deutschland series, inspired by Renato Guttuso’s Café Greco, which Immendorff had seen in an exhibition in Cologne. With his work on the Café Deutschland series, Immendorff's painting became more expressive through his bold use of color and gesture, thereby also freeing him of ideologically imbued emblematics. The process of change introduced here, with its formal and substantive opening-up, developed into the artist’s last work phase, a visual-linguistic “clearing” in the sense of a new pictorial energy and lightness, which Immendorff once described as a “liberation blow.”
“I am glad that, because of its radical concentration, it no longer begs the question of the fable. I have gradually taken away the narrative tinsel, so that the facture of form and color is naturally the focus.”
The retrospective will include approximately 100 works. It does not follow a strict chronology of the works; instead it will present the key element in the development of Immendorff’s oeuvre in chapters.