Norbert Prangenberg

21 Nov 2015 - 17 Jan 2016

Norbert Prangenberg
Figur, 2002
clay, fired, glazed
102 x 75 cm
photo: Peter Sander
Gebilde – Gestalt – Erscheinung
21 November 2015 – 17 January 2016

Produzentengalerie Hamburg is pleased to present works by the deceased sculptor and painter Norbert Prangenberg (1949–2012) in a solo exhibition. »Gebilde – Gestalt – Erscheinung« features mid-size ceramics as well as small-format oil paintings which have been produced during the artist's last years.
Both, his painterly work and his sculpture reveal an insight into his manifold work, which from the 1970's onwards developed over decades, consistently.
A process-oriented and intuitive working method is crucial for Prangenberg: with a great sensitivity and frankness, he reacts to the characteristics of the most diverse materials.

In his last canvases, the artist takes distance from his former repertoire of geometric forms and avails himself of a very abstract formal vocabulary – quite with a reference to an integrated structure. By using impasto oil paint, disrupted through small color fields, the artist creates a vivid surface texture. These miniature-like picture-in-pictures refer to a long tradition of abstract painting but may also be read as quotes of floral and mandala-like patterns of Prangenberg's early works.

While the distinct surface quality turns the images into relief-like objects, the clay figures reminiscent of organic shapes becoming image carriers: The bright colors of the various glazes are in stark contrast with the muted earth tones of the open-pored clay.

The clay pot as standing or reclining »figures« rather seem massive – especially due to their size and simple form. Through their fine finish, consistent of delicate glazings, openings and attached ornamental flowers, the sculptures gain a playful lightness .

The sculptures were built in a classic and traditional way – layer by layer, ring by ring – partially as high as Prangenberg's arms would reach.

The title of the exhibition »Gebilde – Gestalt – Erscheinung« consists of synonyms of the word »figure« – that term, which Prangenberg chose for almost all his ceramics and which enhances the impression of the lively and bodily. His works as well are marked by his physical effort, constantly visible by means of his fingers' working traces in clay and oil.

Norbert Prangenberg (1949–2012) is one the most influential artists in Rhineland: his artistic work is well known beyond Germany. After his apprenticeship as a goldsmith, his interest was early drawn towards Joseph Beuys, his scholars Blinky Palermo and Reiner Ruthenbeck.

Free of idealistic concepts, the artist wanted to create emotional and sensual spaces with his painting, also including the own body into the form-finding procedure of his work.

Norbert Prangenberg was inspired by Lucio Fontana whose work he discovered through Galerie Karsten Grewe, which lead him in the 1980s to work with ceramics as well. Enormous amphoreae, but at the same time smaller objects from glazed clay. The extraordinary tension evolves due to the roughness of the basic material and the smooth surface of the glazing.

In 1984, a very close cooperation between Prangenberg and the Cologne workshop for sculpture, run by Niels Dietrich began. At that time, Prangenberg held a Mies van der Rohe scholarship at Haus Lange. With the technical know-how of Dietrich, Prangenberg was able to bring his ideas into being. He also became a close friend and steady supporter.

Works by the documenta 7 (1982) participant have been shown internationally and are part of numerous institutional collections, such as Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlung, Pinakothek der Moderne, München, graphic collection Sammlung Museum Ludwig, Köln, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen and Kunstmuseen Krefeld.

Special thanks to the Estate Prangenberg for supporting this exhibition.

Tags: Joseph Beuys, Lucio Fontana, Blinky Palermo, Norbert Prangenberg, Reiner Ruthenbeck