Phillips to present Legacies of Modernism, a selling exhibition featuring a remarkable collection of works by Günther Förg (1952-2013) from the collection of Mikael Andersen. This exhibition not only highlights Förg’s artistic brilliance but also celebrates the profound friendship between the artist and Mikael Andersen, established during their time spent together at Andersen’s Studio House in Denmark. Both Förg and Andersen greatly admired the work of Sonja Ferlov Mancoba (1911-1984) and the proceeds from this exhibition will contribute to the development of the Sonja Ferlov Mancoba Museum Pavilion on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. In addition to the works by Förg in this show, sculptures by Ferlov Mancoba will also be included in the selling exhibition, showcasing the destination of the proceeds and the purpose behind this philanthropic endeavour. Legacies of Modernism will delve into intriguing dialogues between Förg and Andersen and explore the subsequent legacies of Modernism in the exceptional artistic practices of both Förg and Ferlov Mancoba.
When I turned 50, I hosted a big preview in my gallery which had a number of Förg’s paintings on display. When the works arrived, it was as if spring had arrived too, filling the space with colour. In my view, Förg’s paintings have explored the entire history of art — from Philip Guston to Barnett Newman, Munch and Rothko — and transformed it into a unique expression, undoubtedly his own. I can’t wait to see these pieces from my collection, which demonstrate the extraordinary breadth of Förg’s work, come together in an exhibition curated by Phillips in their beautiful space on Berkeley Square in London. I am very grateful that I can play a part in establishing a museum pavilion in honour of an incredible female artist, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, and so excited to give her the platform she deserves. Förg was a great fan of Sonja’s work so it is only natural for me to sell my Förg collection to help this project underway. Bornholm is an exceptional place and there could be nowhere more fitting in the world for this museum pavilion. A world-class artist on a world-class island in a museum pavilion designed by a world-class architect!Mikael Andersen, Danish gallerist, and Förg’s close friend
Born in Allgäu, Germany, in 1952, Günther Förg was a multidisciplinary artist known for his significant contributions to abstract art. His diverse body of work, which includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, and prints, deeply explored the legacy of modernism while adding his unique perspective. From his large-scale monochromatic paintings to his vibrant Window and Grid Paintings, Förg’s artistic journey was a testament to his prowess as an abstract visionary.
This philanthropic exhibition focuses on a decade of abstraction, showcasing Förg’s work from 1993 to 2003, spanning ten years of the artist’s prolific career. With a selection of paintings, works on paper, monotypes, ceramics, sculptures and photographs to be exhibited, the exhibition explores Förg’s role as an icon of abstraction. From abstract paintings from the early 90s to photography and ceramics, these works, having once resided in the esteemed collection of Mikael Andersen, are a wonderful testament to Förg’s relationship with the Danish gallerist and collector. Notably, Andersen’s deep commitment to the artists he supported materialised in the physical space of his Studio House, designed by Henning Larsen in Vejby Strand, where painters like Shara Hughes, Eddie Martinez, Tom Anholt and Förg resided and worked.
Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, born Denmark in 1911, trained as an artist and lived in Paris for a time where she connected with influential artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, and Jean Arp. After World War II, Ferlov Mancoba returned to Denmark and became involved with the spontaneous-abstract artists of the Høst exhibition and CoBrA. Ferlov Mancoba worked with clay and plaster to create semi-abstract beings, guardian figures, and masks. Inspired by diverse artistic traditions, such as African, Egyptian, Greek, Indonesian, and Nordic art, the quest for spiritual substance became the guiding principle in her artistic endeavors and a foundational aspect of her artistic philosophy.
Mikael Andersen is using the proceeds from the works in this exhibition to support the legacy of Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, the Danish female avant-garde sculptor whom Förg deeply admired. These proceeds will fund the development of the Sonja Ferlov Mancoba Museum Pavilion in Bornholm, Denmark. Designed by the world-renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the museum will celebrate the legacy of Ferlov Mancoba, whose sculptures were exhibited at the Danish National Gallery and Centre Pompidou in 2019. Some of Ferlov Mancoba’s sculptures will also be displayed within Legacies of Modernism, showcasing the destination of the proceeds and the purpose behind this project.
Phillips X presents Legacies of Modernism: A Selling Exhibition of Works by Günther Förg from the Collection of Mikael Andersen, 24th August – 7th September 2023, Phillips 30 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EX
PhillipsX is a dynamic selling exhibition platform operated by the Private Sales department at Phillips. Presenting highly curated selling exhibitions on an international scale to Phillips’ collecting community around the globe, PhillipsX highlights notable artists and creators of the 20th and 21st centuries, creating new and important dialogues around established and emerging movements, genres, mediums, and channels.