Das großartige, ewige 1. Semester
02/03/90 - 03/11/90
Last year Jörg Immendorff painted a series of pictures entitled "Das großartige, ewige 1. Semester (The great, eternal 1st semester)" during the summer academy in Salzburg. A selection of approx. 20 paintings and 10 gouaches will be exhibited at Portikus for the first time. With this series, Immendorff connects his current work to the politically-motivated activities in the early 70s, as well as to his future situation as teacher at a public art academy, the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.
This bridging function is expressed in the "Handbuch der Akademie für Adler" ("Handbook of the Academy for Eagles") published on the occasion of the exhibition, which refers back to Immendorff's book "Hier und Jetzt: Das zu tun, was zu tun ist" ("Here and Now: Do what needs to be done") from 1973. The still existing copies of the earlier book are newly bound and supplemented by a pre- and postface reproducing the new pictures in a context of drawn picture-stories which comment on them. In addition, a text by Diedrich Diederichsen is included, who has intensively studied Jörg Immendorff's work of the past twenty years.
The following passages, however, cite Jörg Immendorff himself from preface 3 of the "Handbuch der Akademie für Adler" ("Handbook of the Academy for Eagles"):
"With this book into the new decade. This book for the world which will disappear anyway.
The principle of ambivalence, questioning - the enemy of the painter inside the painter is his best friend - must be my concern.
Two legs define it.
1) It is the Handbook of the Academy for Eagles.
2) It is the interim book. On the way to the report on 1993.
The divining rod as antlers of the monkey.....
The principles, the working principles, the working fundaments were naivety, the technique of staging. Drawing borders and assigning oneself tasks.
Do I enjoy telling stories? Far too much. That is my weakness. All the energy, all the painting-power is overshadowed by the desire to include too much - I could make a hundred pictures out of one. So the task consists in permanently taking countermeasures. I don't know what in my works could inspire the art collector to reflect. I make available for everyone working material, and everyone has to make an effort, develop energy in order to make use of this material.
What is important is the relationship between aggressiveness and helplessness. One is confronted with a world with which one wants to have nothing in common. The awareness of carrying what one does not like in the world within oneself demands activity. I need to fight it down. A toing and froing. To be dealt with only with permanent effort.
The challenge lies in finding one's position. I fight on two fronts. Drawing the border to what was and to what is. The decision was crucial to position oneself between the stools.
How the monkey could have happened to me, I really don't know at the moment. He was to be the admonisher. Don't believe everything. An element of self-irony, too. The conflict: this work is the most beautiful work I can imagine - I take it so seriously - but at the same time I know - it's the worst.....
For me, the political activities in the 60s are a big parenthesis - for me they allowed a form of identification - they were a kind of screen behind which I could feel good.
Basics for the thematic direction of my painting were laid down. Later, I had to break with the ideological corsets. They threatened to suffocate all artistic freedom. The artist alone must be responsible for the laws of his work. If he gives them up, he gives up his work.....
Is there a world which I have created prior to working in and with it? That's a very good question.
Working on a world is laborious. It takes till the end of our days, and longer. We must see to it that we get good <<new recruits>>.....
The black pictures coming up on the following pages deal with me and the others, with my relationship to others and other possible works. Working on a new field of energy, manifested in the pictures of the past years. A field of energy of East and West. Today, I have to take this task upon me. See to it that, together with partners from East and West, a new field of energy is created. Directed against the East becoming Western and the West becoming Eastern.....
How I work? Without tricks and false bottoms or with tricks and without false bottoms etc. What is decisive: preventing an insipid taste in the mouth and defending the ability to see that, despite all greatness I assume for my work, it can also be the biggest nonsense.
I keep myself ready as the right second."