The style of Gerhard Merz's early expressive works was influenced by Francis Bacon. During his studies at the Munich art academy from 1969 to 1973, Gerhard Merz began to tackle supremasist and contructivist positions with his metal sculptures and monochrome works.
His work should be considered with regard to the conceptual tendencies of the 1970s and 1980s. Around 1980 he developed script paintings and silk-screen prints based on photographs which were combined with monochrome pictures and murals. From 1984 Merz created location-specific paintings, for which he designed the exhibition room walls with monochrome mineral pigment.
In his 1986 installations Merz united aspects of writing, color and architecture, thus reflecting the exposure to history of art and the forms of presentation in the art business. An important example of this is the installation "Sieg der Sonne 1987" at "documenta 8".
From 1988 to 1994 Gerhard Merz achieved a synthesis of painting and architecture in his "Archipittura", with the surface remaining the characteristic pictorial element. The first programmatic work in this context was "ED IO ANCHE SON ARCHITETTO" from 1988. In this installations Merz referred to the buildings by Mies van der Rohe and reflected the work of artists like Marcel Duchamp, Kasimir Malewitsch and Barnett Newman. The high complexity of this apropriation is as characteristic for his art as his aspiration to utmost formal clarity.
Highlights of his exhibition activities are his participation at the "documenta" exhibitions and a joint presentation with Katharina Sieverding in the German pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1997. Gerhard Merz presented a windowless cube with a frieze of neon tubes.
Today the artist lives in Berlin and Pescia and teaches at the Düsseldorf art academy.
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