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Spot On

Michael Krebber

Michael Krebber; 4, 2001; UAB 1213'Spot on: Michael Krebber' im Museum Brandhorst

Under the title “Spot On”, recently acquired blocks of works by various different artists will be shown in solo or double presentations in two rooms on the ground floor. The presentations will alternate during – and beyond – the anniversary year and its accompanying exhibition “Forever Young – 10 Jahre Museum Brandhorst”.

From 14 September 2019 to 7 January 2020, the focus of hall 0.8 will be on Michael Krebber and his paintings and installations from the 1990s and the early 2000s, in which he reflects upon the discourse on painting and art history as such through a web of subtle references.


Michael Krebber, 4, 2001

Acrylic on synthetic fabric

52 x 64 inches (132.1 x 162.6 cm)

Acquired 2018, UAB 1213

Courtesy der Künstler und Greene Naftali, New York

Exhibition info



Curated by

Patrizia Dander

About the exhibition

Most of the works shown here come from Michael Krebber’s exhibition “The average, edible fish says ADIEU”, which took place in Cologne at the end of 2001. At the time, the critic Frank Frangenberg wrote: “What else can the artist bring to fruition, if he wants to avoid overtaking his famous predecessors with irony and cynicism? Either he spends his life painting just the one mountain with Zen-like concentration […]. Or, as Krebber has decided, he sees the artistic tradition as a quarry, from which he hammers out his chunks of rock, always on guard against himself and what he does.”

And indeed Krebber does weave a fine web of references to artists and discourses, as shown by his installation “Was will die Kunst vom Film?” (What Does Art Want from Film?, 2001): The plastic folder on one of the wallpapering tables contains a photocopy of a drawing by Joseph Beuys, the “godfather” of the Rheinland art scene and advocate of a radically expanded concept of art. The chessboard recalls Marcel Duchamp’s passion for the game; with his ready-mades he brought art as a “creation” to a conclusion. And the title itself refers to an issue of the magazine “Texte zur Kunst” from the time, which looked at the imminent loss of importance of traditional art genres in view of the increasing spread of media art.

So how to continue with painting? Krebber’s pictures contain only frugally sketched and painted marks, almost as if they cannot find a “complete” form. There are repeated allusions to and commentaries on the “quarry” of art history: contour lines of a face in a three-quarter portrait, or the “ready-made” motif of a decorative material—a recourse to Sigmar Polke. It is remarkable that the tools in the paintings, brushes and wrenches, are recognizable only from their handles—as if the action takes place outside of the picture. And perhaps that is the best way to understand Krebber’s paintings: as an intersection at which an entire network of internal and external reference lines and meanings converge.