Imi Knoebel


IMI KNOEBEL’S ART is about beginnings. Those same points where many modern artists discovered an absolute reduction, a zero degree of artmaking, are, for Knoebel, points of departure. His near-ascetic disposition toward the materials of his craft set him apart from his fellow students in Joseph Beuys’s class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied from 1964 to 1971. It was there that Knoebel met Blinky Palermo, whose experiments with color and unusual pictorial supports would have an important impact on Knoebel’s own development. Working in Room 19, an annexed studio next to Beuys’s classroom, Knoebel and Palermo (along with Imi Giese, Jörg Immendorff, and later Katharina Sieverding) sought refuge from the ever-expanding coterie of Beuys acolytes. Knoebel recalls that for the most part each had his or her own métier: “I was the constructor, and Palermo was the painter.” After

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