ArtJunk
No. 09—2024

12 Bilder für einen Raum | 12 Paintings for One Space

Ulrich Erben

Info: For his second exhibition at Sies + Höke, Ulrich Erben has conceived a group of twelve paintings, each measuring 100 x 80 cm, of which six are black and six are white. While the works are devoid of chromaticity, they are by no means monochromatic. Segmented horizontally, each painting features an intense range of tones that oscillate between lighter and darker hues of black or white. These gradations are so subtle, and carried out to such perfection, that they evoke illusions of movement and depth, challenging the viewer’s spatial perception. There are dialogues between the upper and lower halves of the paintings, between the vertical and horizontal. Together, the group of paintings seems to transcend colour to become something spiritual. Ulrich Erben (b. 1940) is one of the great German post-war painters. His paintings are in the tradition of concrete art, geometric abstraction, and colour field painting. After studying art in Italy and Germany, Erben returned to the Rhineland and moved into a studio near Düsseldorf, where he created his first White Paintings in 1968. His work was later presented at documenta 6 in 1977. Erben’s paintings are more than analytical statements on abstraction. They are bathed in glistening sunlight, creating a tranquil, floating energy field that is both light-footed and well-tempered. His works are compositions of nature and light, and can be considered the essence of painting itself.

Sies und Hoeke Ulrich Erben ArtJunk