Klaus Wolf Knoebel was born on December 31, 1940. He spent his childhood near Dresden and moved to Mainz with his family in 1950. From 1962-64 Imi Knoebel studied at the Darmstadt "Werkkunstschule", in a course based on the ideas of the pre-Bauhaus course taught by Johannes Itten and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy. At the school Knoebel met Rainer Griese. They both used the first name "Im"', an abbreviation the friends used to say good-bye. Fascinated by the teacher Joseph Beuys, the two friends transfered to the Düsseldorf art academy in 1964, where they tried to stand out strongly among the other Beuys-students.
In 1968 Knoebel created his first major work, an installation called "Raum 19", named after classroom No. 19, which Beuys had given to his students at the academy. At that time Imi Knoebel already studied the relationship between space, picture support and color in analytical series.
He was indebted to a second guiding spirit, Kasimir Malevich, for the idea of the reduction of a painting to its elemental co-ordinates. After purist linear pictures, light projections and white pictures (1972-75), Knoebel first used color in 1974. From 1975 to date, Imi Knoebel has been working on a group of works called "Mennigebilder", named after an anti-corrosion paint used in steel construction by the name of Mennige Paint, which the artist has used in these works.
In the second half of the 1970s, after these polygonal boards, even freer forms appeared, which contained the full color spectrum. Projects such as "Deutsches Tor" and "Kinderstern", both realized in 1988, reveal the artist's social and political commitment. In 1999 Knoebel ordered 7000 packets of "IMI Starkreiniger" (Cleaner) at "VEB Waschmittelwerk Genthin", trying to make an ironic comment on the political situation of the time. Imi Knoebels works could be seen in individual exhibitions at museums in Düsseldorf in 1975, Winterthur and Bonn in 1983 and Hamburg in 1992 and 2003. He also participated in important group exhibitions such as "documenta 5", "6", "7" and "8".
In 1996 the Munich "Haus der Kunst" staged a large retrospective of his works.
Related artists: Alfano, Carlo | Antes, Horst | Arman | Beuys, Joseph | Boetti, Alighiero E. | Bonalumi, Agostino | Brodwolf, Jürgen | Calderara, Antonio | César, (d.i. César Baldaccini) | Christo | Droese, Felix | Fontana, Lucio | Fruhtrunk, Günter | Förg, Günther | Geiger, Rupprecht | Girke, Raimund | Graubner, Gotthard | Götz, Karl Otto | Hansen, Al (Alfred Earl) | Hauser, Erich | Hirst, Damien | Hoehme, Gerhard | Horn, Rebecca | Kiefer, Anselm | Kippenberger, Martin | Kolár, Jirí | Lakner, László | Luther, Adolf | Manzoni, Piero | Merz, Gerhard | Merz, Mario | Nauman, Bruce | Nitsch, Hermann | Paik, Nam June | Paladino, Mimmo | Palermo, Blinky | Paolozzi, Eduardo | Pfahler, Georg Karl | Polke, Sigmar | Rainer, Arnulf | Richter, Gerhard | Roth, Dieter | Rückriem, Ulrich | Schumacher, Emil | Scully, Sean | Sonderborg, K.R.H. (d.i. Kurt R. Hoffmann) | Spoerri, Daniel | Stella, Frank | Tinguely, Jean | Tobey, Mark | Twombly, Cy | Uecker, Günther | Vautier, Ben | Vostell, Wolf | West, Franz | Zangs, Herbert