Marküs Lupertz: Tent Paintings

Markus-Lupertz Michael Werner

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to view key early works by this important artist.

In 1963 Markus Lüpertz (b. 1941, Liberec, Bohemia) embarked on his series of “dithyrambic” paintings, his first independent and mature works. The ancient term “dithyramb” refers to ecstatic songs and rituals honouring the god Dionysus and was used by the artist to describe a working state of excited improvisation and spontaneous invention at a time when he was searching for new aesthetic forms in his painting. Markus Lüpertz’s earliest “dithyrambic” pictures were pictorial inventions of sculptural forms in planar space that lie somewhere between abstract and representational imagery: forms evocative of architecture or figuration, though not always overtly so. The artist later augmented his practice of inventing forms by seeking fresh inspiration and new motifs from a variety of unlikely sources, and in 1965 he began a series of paintings depicting tents and tent-like forms the artist called “diamonds”.

Taken from illustrations in a department store catalogue, the motif of the tent offered Lüpertz a way to further develop his ideas of abstraction and pictorial invention through theme and variation. He was free to explore line, form and colour while moving fluidly between pictorial representation and abstract invention. The resulting objects, writes Siegfried Gohr, are “…both real and unreal…the point was the poetical effect of the painting, beyond questions of the motif.” Here the adjective “dithyrambic” comes to refer not only to the artist’s state of heightened creativity but also to the mood of “poetic reverberation” he drew out of a seemingly banal source. The vibrant immediacy of these works resonates still, over fifty years after their creation.


Duration 27 April 2018 - 30 June 2018
Times Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 6pm
Cost Free
Venue Michael Werner
Address 22 Upper Brook Street, London, W1K 7PZ
Contact 0207 495 6855 / /