This exhibition of rarely-seen paintings by Konrad Lueg (1939–1996), also known as Düsseldorf-based gallerist Konrad Fischer, includes 18 paintings produced from 1963 to 1968, the five-year period during which the gallerist also worked as an artist. With “pattern paintings” intentionally resembling wallpaper, and paintings that capture the image of viewers on their surface, the work presents a playful challenge to notions of gallery space and what constitutes a painting.
Konrad Lueg attended the Düsseldorf Academy, where he studied with Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke under Bruno Goller and Karl-Otto Götz from 1958 to 1962. His first major showing was titled Living with Pop, a happening he organized with Gerhard Richter in 1963. Friends and colleagues were invited into a Düsseldorf department store to view the artists seated on living-room furniture from the store’s inventory, placed on pedestals as works of art.
During the next year, Lueg’s paintings contained motifs adopted from popular imagery, including the Mona Lisa, washing detergent, soccer players, and Cassius Clay. He also initiated the “pattern paintings,” creating patterned canvases that closely mimicked designs for wallpaper, towels, and napkins. The series also included paintings in which, against a background of one pattern, Lueg placed silhouettes cut from other patterns. Kaffee und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake), at Alfred Schmela Gallery in 1966, marked a second highlight of this period. Lueg once again invited friends and colleagues to have coffee and cake, this time in the important Düsseldorf gallery, with Gerhard Richter showing a portrait of Schmela himself, and Lueg covering the entire space with his own wallpaper.
Also in 1966, Lueg created 24 Variations of a Picture Consisting of Four Different Color Squares using plastic decoration material in different colors. Towards the end of his period as a painter, Lueg used phosphorescent color on canvases so that the spectator would cast a shadow onto pictures, thus creating their own imagery. The idea was to create Schattenwände, or shadow walls, within the exhibition, featuring art “created by the public.”
During his lifetime, Lueg was well-known in Europe and in the U.S. as Konrad Fischer, the gallerist who represented and showed artists Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, Robert Ryman, Lawrence Weiner, Richard Long, and On Kawara, to name a few. His own artwork, however, is largely unknown in the U.S. and is only now gaining recognition in Europe. His work has never before been shown in the United States.
When I paint my name is Konrad Lueg is curated by Dr. Thomas Kellein, Director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld. Following its exhibition at P.S.1, Konrad Lueg will be on view at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany and then at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Gent, Belgium.