Transcending the boundaries of painting, drawing, and sculpture, Norbert Prangenberg (1949-2012) has created an oeuvre that is closely interlinked and yet highly diverse. In 1982, he shot to international fame when he participated at the contemporary art exhibition documenta 7. Having been apprenticed as a goldsmith, he took up a teaching post as professor of ceramics and glass painting at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1993. He had begun to work as a self-taught artist in the 1970s, starting off with a thorough examination of the works of Joseph Beuys and of the master’s students Blinky Palermo and Reiner Ruthenbeck. Beuys’s manner of fully uniting art with life as well as his delicate drawings fascinated Prangenberg—and so did the use of abstract visual symbols in Palermo’s paintings. But the decisive impulse that inspired Prangenberg to work in clay came later from Lucio Fontana.
From then on, he produced hollow body sculptures, often life-size, which he invariably called “figures” despite their abstract appearance. They are impressive structures of unconventional beauty, combining archaic simplicity with vibrant colors and geometric austerity with a rich diversity of forms reminiscent of the baroque period. Rough, untreated surfaces merge with the sheen of brilliant glazes.
This publication is launched for the occasion of the 70th birthday of the artist. It presents 70 selected works—sculptures, paintings, and drawings—, which give an insight into three decades of Prangenberg’s prolific oeuvre.