Painter. Rebel. Teacher.
K.H. Hödicke at the PalaisPopulaire

He was a rebel of German postwar painting. At the beginning of the 1960s in Berlin, the painter K.H. Hödicke was one of the spokesmen for a small group of impetuous young lateral thinkers who sought to revolutionize painting. After the war, Germany rejoined the European art scene through abstract painting trends such as Informel and Tachism. And it almost completely turned away from the figuration that was ideologically burdened by National Socialism and Stalinism. Abstract painting devoted itself primarily to inner, transcendental cosmoses. But Hödicke sought to counteract this with his figuration. With his surprisingly fresh contemporary visual worlds, he, like other artists of his generation, abruptly set himself apart from the abstract generation. His early big-city subjects, which concentrated on motif extracts and which he entitled Reflections, bear his unmistakable signature. Painted with a dynamic flowing gesture that oscillates between form and non-form, they shine in luminous expressive coloration. In 1974, K.H. Hödicke was appointed professor at the West Berlin Academy of Arts. His direct painting would have a formative influence on an entire generation of subsequent artists who in the 1980s were known as the Neue Wilde.

The retrospective K.H. Hödicke, which opens at the PalaisPopulaire on October 9 after its premiere at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Munich, gives insight into a virtually inexhaustible artistic oeuvre. The combination of drawing, painting, and sculpture demonstrates that while Hödicke, born in 1938, is undoubtedly one of today’s classics, his work has retained an astonishing freshness and topicality over half a century.

For the first time, K.H. Hödicke gave a curator, Michael Hering from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Munich, the opportunity to view works in the artist’s possession for a period of two years, to bundle and thematically arrange groups of works. The works are returning to Berlin, the city in which Hödicke, together with Markus Lüpertz and Bernd Koberling, founded one of the first producer galleries in 1964, the legendary Großgörschen 35. Like no other artist, Hödicke captured walled-in West Berlin for decades, the Wall, the ruins, the courtyards, the Gropius building, the streets at night, the neon signs, the snow—and repeatedly the nervous energy and the attitude to life of this frontline city, things that he helped influence with his art.

K.H. Hödicke
October 9, 2020 – March 8, 2021
PalaisPopulaire, Berlin