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Raimund Girke

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Raimund Girke

*  1930 Heinzendorf/Schlesien
† 2002 Köln


From 1951-52 Girke studied at the Werkkunstschule Hanover and subsequently attended the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. The moulding gestures of the Informel which held way there he found to be subjective and lofty, and he developed continuously from the 1950s onwards an individual, formally reduced style of painting. Girke's quick success was proven by the awarding of the prize for painting of the city of Wolfsburg in 1959 and the youth art prize in Stuttgart in 1962. Between 1966 and 1971 he taught at the Werkkunstschule in Hanover before following a call to the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. In the 1960s he further developed his painting and limited the gradation of colours. The earlier arrangement principles of the painting surface, such as parallel layers of colour in individual strokes of paint, and mesh-like serial structures, were to become characteristic for his whole oeuvre. During the 1970s Raimund Girke called for the comparison of a total stimulus satiation contra 'the quiet reduced objects to lead the viewer back to concentration'. An almost monochrome-white picture design with the finest differentiation in colour and light was dominant in this period and experienced in 1977 its purest manifestation in the pictures for documenta 6. The colour white became the 'Queen of Colours' for Girke. In the 1980s and 1990s, the colour palette was widened mainly around gradations of grey tones, the gestured moment of the brush stroke was intensified anew. The personal flow was nearly totally neutralised in Girke's serial, structural arrangements but nevertheless his works were formed by tension between sobriety and emotion. Since the 1980s Girke's art plays a fundamental role in painting in Germany. In 1995 the artist received the Lovis-Corinth-prize. Raimund Girke lived and worked in Cologne and Berlin until his death in 2002.


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