Raimund Girke – Sound of Silence Retrospective

18 March until 26 June 2022

Raimund Girke – Sound of Silence

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of the painter Raimund Girke. To commemorate the occasion, the MKM Museum Küppersmühle will honor the artist with a wide-ranging exhibition showcasing an oeuvre spanning nearly 50 years and underlining his significant contribution to German painting after 1945.

Starting out exploring in gestural-informal abstraction, toward the end of the 1950s Raimund Girke moved on to develop nearly monochrome pictures. He narrowed down his palette to include only a few colors and handled them as apparitions of light, which he structured rhythmically in various ways, often to the extent of creating an optical irritation. Increasingly refining his brush stroke led Girke to finally abandon any form of painterly gesture in the 1960s. In applying an airbrush and using nearly exclusively white, he achieved an evenly homogenous distribution on the canvas. Work from this era is frequently structured either in a horizontal manner or in subtly patterned, barely discernible shadings and light-dark transitions. As such, they present a challenge to the viewer´s perception.

In 1963, Girke noted about these paintings:

“In my white paintings I don´t want to freeze the visual space, but, rather, want to lead the painting to a stage that enables unlimited spatial movement beyond the confines of the movement on the surface itself. To achieve this involves finely nuanced swelling and ebbing white. …White eludes any attempt at determination, it appears to be constantly expanding and changing. It is at once rest and movement, it is infinite and it deprives the picture of its material state.

(Quoted from: Raimund Girke – Texts 1960 – 1995, publication for the exhibition in Kunsthaus Zug, 1995)

In the early 1970s, the painter abandoned the air brush technique in favor of more strongly expressive gestures. In the pictures from this era, broad brush strokes dynamically burst out of their still often horizontally tiered order. Movement and depth enter the pictorial content; the surface itself becomes a light-dark phenomenon. Since the mid-1980s, Girke´s use of color pulsates within a broad spectrum of light, which now can also include earth tones and a deeply vibrant blue. Brush strokes are applied vigorously with or against each other or form a dynamic network /weave seemingly reaching beyond the picture format. Though the act, the process of painting remains clearly legible in the brush´s traces, thus effecting a surprising discrepancy within the spiritual and meditative resonance of these unbounded works beyond surface and space.


Raimund Girke (born October 28, 1930, in Heinzendorf, Lower Silesia, died June 12, 2002, in Cologne) studied at the Werkkunstschule Hannover from 1951 – 1952 and then, until 1956, at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf as a student of Georg Meistermann. In 1959, he received the award of the city of Wolfsburg for painting, in 1962, the Kunstpreis der Jugend Baden Württemberg. From 1966 to 1971 Girke taught at the Werkkunstschule Hannover; from 1971 to 1996 he was a professor at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. In 1977, he took part in the documenta 6 at Kassel and in 1995 received the Lovis Corinth award and in 2002 the Lower Saxonian state art prize.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, Raimund Girke had a studio in Cologne. In 1995/96, the Sprengel-Museum Hannover, von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal, Saarlandmuseum Saarbrücken and Kunsthalle Nürnberg all presented a comprehensive retrospective of his oeuvre.



KUMI – THE ART WEEK | every Wednesday | 3.00 p.m.

Every Wednesday, an art educator will guide you through the Raimund Girke exhibition. The tour is free of charge and limited to a number of 20 people. A ticket for the temporary exhibition is required for participation. Pre-registration is not possible.

PUBLIC SUNDAY TOUR | every Sunday | 3.00 p.m.

Our public Sunday guided tour offers all visitors an exciting insight into the exhibition and the Ströher Collection. The tour is free of charge and limited to a number of 20 people. A ticket for the entire house is required for participation. Pre-registration is not possible.

each 29 April | 20 May | 17 June 6.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

How do you immerse yourself in the cosmos of a picture that shows nothing? KUNSTtreffen is an event format that focuses on perception in the encounter with art. 1-2 works by the artist Raimund Girke are examined in detail. 20,00€ p.p. Tickets are available exclusively here.


Please note current corona protection measures of the state of NRW.

Buy Tickets here.

Organisation: An exhibition of the Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur e.V. Bonn with the support of Evonik Industries AG
Eintritt: 6,00€ p.P. | discounted 3,00€ p.P.

Impressions of the opening