Ludger Gerdes

Konrad Fischer Galerie | Düsseldorf

Art is autonomous. This statement is a cardinal definition of Modern art, and as theorem and challenge it dictates the discourse of the fine arts. The discussion of art’s autonomy excludes functionality. Ludger Gerdes, in his artistic and theoretical work, focuses on the widely diverging concepts of autonomy. In his text “Autonomie, Formalismus und moderne Kunst” (Autonomy, formalism, and Modern art) published in 1990, Gerdes asks what the “specific characteristic” of art might be: “. . .the strict, radically autonomous artwork is aloof from content. . . .A rigorously autonomous art concentrates on that which appears as having color in space, on FORMS.” Gerdes’ works can, of course, also have content, but they are not dominated by it. Thus, he emphasizes formal relationships. These “radically abstract formal works,” which he develops theoretically and as paintings, are models “that make

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