Neo-Expressionism in the 1980s

19 December 2014 to 22 March 2015

A fresh breeze swept through the art world in the early eighties. Whereas figurative art had received little appreciation for a good number of years, young artists in Europe and America suddenly began to draw and paint in a personal way. They seemed to have little affinity with the modernist ideals that had driven art toward abstraction. Instead, they took their own feelings and fantasies as the starting point of their work.

This generally colourful work is called ‘neo-expressionism’. It is a light-footed variant of expressionism: if deeper feelings are articulated at all, this mainly happens with some kind of irony. The Groninger Museum showed interest in this movement right from the outset. Almost all the drawings here in the Print Gallery were acquired in the first half of the 1980s.  

Milan Kunc and Peter Angermann combined to form the Gruppe Normal and wished to create accessible art for ‘ordinary’ people. René Daniëls and Henk Visch made use of a more associative, poetic style. The same can be said of Francesco Clemente, who found inspiration in India. Chuck Nanney displays influences from surrealism, and Martin Disler, with his intense draughtsmanship, is the closest of all to original expressionism. Hervé Di Rosa was influenced by comic strips and, with his Nose Bleeding Self-portrait, Jiří  Georg Dokoupil delivers ironic commentary on the growing commercialization of art in the eighties: the artist as a ‘brand’.

The vast majority of works are Untitled, which allows spectators to give their own interpretation of the work.

  • Francesco Clemente, I, 1982, collectie Groninger Museum
  • Peter Angermann, Zusüp, 1980, Groninger Museum
  • Jiri Georg Dokoupil, Zonder titel, ('Mars') (uit de serie: Nose Bleeding Self Portraits), 1985, collectie Groninger Museum
  • René Daniels, Zonder titel, 1981, collectie Groninger Museum
  • Milan Kunc, Zonder titel, 1982, collectie Groninger Museum