Heimrad Prem

Stadische Galerie in Lenbachhaus

The current economic crisis in Germany is causing many artists and intellectuals to reexamine the Situationist movement, which has inevitably led to a rediscovery of the work of Heimrad Prem, an important member of the German branch of the Situationist International. In the larger context of the movement, Prem may not seem like a shining example—he is often associated with depression and failure—but many of his supposed “failures” constitute efforts that are worthy of attention.

Though Prem’s artistic discoveries can often be considered apart from his political and cultural goals, hardly any other artist engaged in the heated debates of the movement as directly and convincingly. In a painting entitled Manifest, 1960, five people, each of whom can be identified as members of the German Situationist group Spur (Trace), sit around a table and appear to talk excitedly. Despite the painting’s

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