Milan, Dep Art gallery showcases the minimalism of Imi Knoebel

Milan's Dep Art gallery presents the solo exhibition "Painting Color Space" by Imi Knoebel, one of Germany's leading contemporary artists, who bases his style on minimalism and constructivism.

From Oct. 7, 2021 to Jan. 15, 2022, Milan ’s Dep Art Gallery is hosting a major solo exhibition of Imi Knoebel (Dessau, 1940), one of the best-known artists devoted to minimalism and constructivism. Entitled Painting Color Space, the exhibition, curated by Giorgio Verzotti, presents 27 works created by the German painter from the late 1970s to the present, from the composition on paper Messerschnitt VI (1977) to the iconic Anima Mundi 106-3 (2019) on aluminum, outlining the different moments of his visual research.

Internationally known for a minimalist approach to color and geometry, Imi Knoebel conducts research narrowly focused on the expressive qualities of form, material, surface and space. Giorgio Verzotti, former curator together with Marco Meneguzzo of the exhibition Imi Knoebel. L’idea di Europa, held at the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan in 1991, writes in the critical text, “From the very beginning Imi Knoebel posed the problem of the relationship between the work and space, and we Italians immediately think of the lesson of Lucio Fontana, which in Germany was propagated also thanks to the relations between the Italian master and the ZERO group. Among Knoebel’s stated references in fact Fontana is, along with Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni, thus the field of the most radical abstraction, chosen and frequented since his days at the Academy in Düsseldorf, together with fellow artist Imi Giese, who died in 1974. They worked together, grateful to their professor Joseph Beuys for his encouragement, even though the German master said his own research had little to do with theirs. They worked as self-taught artists, coming to art without knowing quite what to do, Knoebel recounts today, but knowing quite well in which genealogy to place themselves.”

The exhibition itinerary opens with the monumental work LUEB go 1276w (2013), an aluminum form whose borders are crisscrossed with yellow, blue and black strips. Representing the 1990s is a work from the DIN II series (1994), consisting of four rectangular elements that follow each other in alternating primary colors, and the famous Kinderstern (1994), the children’s star. Some specimens of the celebrated editions entitled Face (2016), in which bands of pure color are layered in an emotional and structural alternation, and the smaller An Meine Grüne Seite (2007) and Tafel (2016), which, like chromatic altars, sharply and linearly mark the German master’s perceptual poetics. Also characteristic of the artist are works formed by compositions of many elements, such as Tag und Nacht III E1-E5 (1998) and Nummer 9B-15B (2012), where we witness the true manifestation of color as an individual element, similar to a splinter emerging from the strict structural connotations, just to name a few. Representing the last decade are three works from the Anima Mundi series, so dear to the artist: color and minimalism, the essence of form and the power of the sign, constitute the interpretive cornerstones of Imi Knoebel’s artistic practice.

A bilingual (Italian and English) catalog accompanies the exhibition, with a critical text by Giorgio Verzotti. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free admission. For info, visit

Pictured: Imi Knoebel, Anima Mundi 106-3 (2019; 37 x 127 x 5.8 cm). Courtesy Dep Art Gallery, Milan

Milan, Dep Art gallery showcases the minimalism of Imi Knoebel
Milan, Dep Art gallery showcases the minimalism of Imi Knoebel

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