Willi Baumeister: Ideogramm, 1938. Oil on canvas, 65 x 46 cm, BB 0792. Photo: Eric Tschernow, courtesy Galerie Friese, Berlin. Exhibition in cooperation with the Willi Baumeister Foundation
Baumeister's enigmatically timeless compositions from the 1930s lie at the heart of the exhibition.
Following on from his early work of the 1920s, which was inspired by Constructivism and always used the human form as the starting point for its geometric compositions, Baumeister devised a more organic formal language around 1930 that testifies to his intense preoccupation with prehistoric, non-European, and indigenous forms of expression. He continued to develop this in a variety of thematic work groups, each with its own stylistic form, until the 1940s. The types of forms and figures conceived in these works appear as the protagonists of his constantly innovative exploration of the tension between figuration and abstraction.
Baumeister's iconic late work ensured that he went down in history as an advocate of abstraction and an inspiration for the post-war Art Informel. These works reveal him to be a unique inventor of vivid visual worlds and a true pioneer of the avant-garde.