BLINKY PALERMO (1943-1977) STOFFBILD signed and dated "Palermo 69" on the reverse dyed cotton ove...
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BLINKY PALERMO (1943-1977) STOFFBILD signed and dated "Palermo 69" on the reverse dyed cotton ove...

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BLINKY PALERMO (1943-1977) STOFFBILD signed and dated  Palermo 69  on the reverse dyed cotton ove...
BLINKY PALERMO
(1943-1977)
STOFFBILD
signed and dated "Palermo 69"
on the reverse
dyed cotton over wooden stretcher
78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in. (200 x 200 cm)
executed in 1969 PROVENANCE
Galerie Heiner Friedrich, MUNICH
Private collection, GERMANY EXHIBITED
Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig and Kunstraum München (Auswahl), BLINKY PALERMO, June 6-November 20, 1993, p. 78, no. 85
MOCHENGLADBACH, Abteimuseum (on extended loan) LITERATURE
G. Storck, DIE STOFFBILDER VON PALERMO, KREFELD, 1977, no. 25
T. Moeller, PALERMO: BILDER UND OBJEKTE, Vol. I, BONN, 1995, no. 112 (illustrated)
In 1965, while still a master student of Joseph Beuys at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Blinky Palermo created his first STOFFBILDER or cloth pictures, and continued to produce them for the next several years. Palermo constructed these works from wide strips of fabric that were stitched together according to the artist's instructions. Usually comprising two or three different colored panels, the sewn pieces of fabric were ultimately stretched like a canvas to create stacked, horizontal registers of pure color. Palermo's decision to use fabric may have been partially influenced by his teacher, Beuys, who already incorporated felt into his sculptures and performances by 1965. Felt, for Beuys, was a biographically loaded material connected to certain traumatic events in his personal life. Palermo's interest in fabric, by contrast, did not include this same sort of personal investment. Indeed, he seems to have valued the high degree of artistic self-effacement that his STOFFBILDER generated. Quite unlike a painted canvas, Palermo's cloth pictures offer little, if any, variation in tone and reveal no traces of painterly nuance or inflection across their surfaces; they instead afford the viewer a strictly optical experience of pure, undiluted color.
Palermo's STOFFBILDER often recall the paintings of Mark Rothko, an artist whom he held in particularly high esteem. When traveling throughout America by car in 1974, Palermo and Imi Knoebel, a fellow student of Beuys, spent several days at the recently christened Rothko Chapel in Houston. Not unlike Rothko's late paintings in Houston, Palermo's STOFFBILDER force the viewer to phenomenologically consider the horizontal line. By reducing many of their works to stacked, geometric fields of color, both artists call attention to the edges and boundaries of these planes. Yet, Palermo's STOFFBILDER are distinguished by their far more rigorous geometry and the absolute uniformity of color inherent to their fabric constructions. These qualities ultimately heighten the tension between perception and material reality. "The core of Palermo's horizon experience is essentially an intuitive and immediate consciousness of the uncertainty of the conditions on the peripheries of perception, where line, plane, and space resist their logical definitions and become fictional elements" (M. Wechsler, BLINKY PALERMO, NEW YORK, 1989).