Imi Knoebel’s confluence of painting and sculpture are minimalist explorations of the relationships between structure, space, and color. Knoebel’s “knife-cut” technique along with a regular use of primary colors has become a clear hallmark of his work. Knoebel studied under Joseph Beuys, but gained a strong influence from Kasimir Malevich’s work with a limited color palate and use of simplified square shapes. Knoebel’s early work primarily dealt with a reductionist approach to using strong black and white images of lines as the subject. Later, he explored bright, saturated color through a series of irregular, vibrant forms and experimented with colored wood, aluminum panels and slats. Knoebel also worked with the medium of projection, but consistently maintained his key visual elements of the grid and square.
Born in Dessau, Germany, in 1940, Knoebel's works are held worldwide in numerous public collections, including Dia: Beacon in Beacon, New York, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporain in France, the Kunstmuseum St.Gallen in Switzerland, Essl Museum Klosterneuburg in Austria, Albertina in Vienna, Berardo Collection Museum Lisbon in Portugal National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the Netherlands, Malmö Konsthall in Sweden, along with the Deutsche Bank Collection’s acquisition of more than 1,000 of his works.