A.R. Penck

Michael Werner Gallery

A.R. Penck not only paints, but also makes sculpture, books and music. He concerns himself with cybernetics and the Ice Age. (The name “A.R. Penck” is derived from that of a nineteenth-century geologist who specialized in the Ice Age; the artist’s real name is Ralf Winkler.) His exhibitions are often accompanied by his own publications: texts which read like Tom Wolfe’s “new journalism.” His various interests could all be grouped under the heading of “communication.” Until August 1980, Penck lived and worked exclusively in East Germany while his art was exhibited in the West, especially in West Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Penck was never able to visit these exhibitions, and in his own country was unable to show his work in public. He was not admitted to the official artists’ union, and as a result he remained in complete artistic isolation.

Over the years, Penck has developed

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