Imi Knoebel was born in Dessau, Germany on 1940. From 1962 to 1964, he studied applied arts at the Darmstadt School of Arts and Crafts. Knoebel’s studies followed the theories put forth by Johannes Itten and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy of the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. In 1964-71 he studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, under Joseph Beuys with Blinky Palermo.
Imi Knoebel is one of the most important contemporary German artists. Revered for his minimalist and reductionist influences, Knoebel explores the interplay of colours as structured forms.
Studying under Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Knoebel was a fellow student of Blinky Palermo (with whom he shared a studio), Jörg Immendorff and Imi Giese. During his studies, the artist closely followed the aesthetic theories of Johannes Itten and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy whose work was fundamental to Bauhaus theory and practice. Out of this grew Knoebel’s interest in the high modernist principles seen in Kazimir Malevich’s oeuvre, which investigate the relationship between space, picture support and colour.
Knoebel initially focused on light projections, and pure white paintings. By 1974 he softened his reductionist position through the addition of colour. Knoebel’s artworks depict an explosion of different tints that are uniquely disciplined and presented in a manner that is highly geometric. Each component is made up of an intense hue that inspires emotion in its viewers. The relationship between the different shapes and colours emphasizes both contrast and precision. Knoebel solidifies the emotions he arouses in the viewer through his deceptively simplified style. The response to his art is intensified by rich colour which often overrides the simplicity of the forms. Simultaneously, Knoebel succeeds in creating a dialogue between painting and sculpture with the flow of his brushstroke visibile across the surface of his minimalist arrangements.
His unique and impeccable style has also been defined by the recurring “Messerschnitt” or “knife cuts” that produce abstractly expressive shapes. Their seemingly haphazard coordination is but a projection of the artist’s deliberately relating different parts of the whole in an order that respects their values as defined by their shape and colour.
Imi Knoebel studied at the Darmstadt "Werkkunstschule" 1962–64 and from 1964 to 1971, at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Knoebel's works are held worldwide in numerous public collections, including Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Albertina in Vienna among others. Since its first purchase in 1984, the Deutsche Bank Collection has acquired more than 1,000 works on paper by Knoebel. In 2011, he created several stained glass windows for the Reims Cathedral.