esslingen-germany

Manfred Kuttner, Pair-Impair, 1963, tempera, fluorescent paint on decorative fabric, 71 x 45 1/4".

Manfred Kuttner

Villa Merkel

Manfred Kuttner, Pair-Impair, 1963, tempera, fluorescent paint on decorative fabric, 71 x 45 1/4".

Though Manfred Kuttner’s blend of Pop art and abstraction still feels relevant today, it is a fifty-year-old product of the German economic miracle. After studying in Dresden in the 1950s, Kuttner fled the GDR for Düsseldorf, where he enrolled at the city’s Kunstakademie in 1960. Thereafter, in a career lasting just three years, 1962–65, he used newly marketed fluorescent paints to fashion two major bodies of work. The first—and larger—of these is a group of patterned abstract paintings, whose checkered and striated surfaces explore effects of virtual movement. Influenced most notably by the Düsseldorf-based Group Zero, the retina-sapping imagery of these works is wont to spiral, torque, and flicker before one’s eyes, buckling and ballooning in accordance with the nature of their patterning.

Kuttner’s other works, which owe a stronger debt to Nouveau Réalisme and perhaps

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