Pop and Agitation in Werner Nöfer’s Graphic Art

Anyone who knows Hamburg has surely seen it: the large mural adorning the outer wall of the legendary Grünspan music club on Große Freiheit in St. Pauli. Designed by Werner Nöfer (b. 1937 in Essen) and Dieter Glasmacher (b. 1940 in Krefeld) in 1968, it was not only one of Europe’s first wall paintings but is in the meantime a listed landmark on Hamburg’s music and club scene. On the occasion of the 10th Hamburg Architecture Summer (May to July 2023), the Hamburger Kunsthalle is presenting an exhibition of Werner Nöfer’s graphic works, many of which served as models for his works in public space. Among them is the silkscreen periscopic, which is almost identical to the mural at Grünspan.

Unmistakably a product of the late 1960s with their mix of Pop Art, landscape motifs and graphic precision, Nöfer’s works captivate with their carefully calibrated chromatics and formal language. While Nöfer was influenced by artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, considered the »father« of Pop Art, his art is at the same time often a humorous response to what he sees as the »violence of the technological and mechanical environment« of his day. In silkscreen motifs such as Blind Flight and Monitor, the landscape or a crystal-clear horizon can be discerned as a »picture within a picture«, signalling a world dominated by technical apparatus.

Werner Nöfer has shown works in numerous exhibitions since the 1960s and has also created several works in public space, such as a signage system for Berlin’s Tegel Airport and murals for Hamburg’s Abaton Cinema (1970). At the art house cinema in the Grindelviertel, his paintings adorn the entrance and box office area, functioning like a storyboard with individual film scenes.

The exhibition will display some 40 graphic works, most of which were received by the Kunsthalle as a gift from the artist in 2017 and are now on view for the first time. Together with films, sketchbooks, book covers and designs for works in public space, the show provides a detailed look at Nöfer’s oeuvre in the context of graphic art in Hamburg around 1970, a lively scene that is just now being rediscovered.

The exhibition is being organised in collaboration with Jörg Schilling, who has been researching the artist’s work for many years and whose Schaff-Verlag is simultaneously publishing the extensive monograph »Erinnerungen an Landschaften. Werner Nöfers Arbeiten im öffentlichen Raum«.
An artist talk and guided tours of the exhibition including city walks to selected works by Nöfer in public space are planned as part of the supporting programme. Film screenings will also be held in cooperation with the Abaton Cinema.

An event in connection with the Hamburg Architecture Summer 2023.

Periscopic! Pop an Agitation in Werner Nöfer`s Graphic Art

Exhibition catalogue in German 36 € plus postage

Hamburger Architektursommer 2023

Dieter Glasmacher and Werner Nöfer - The wall objects in the Oberhafen

Exhibition Gleishalle, Stockmeyerstr. 43, 2.- 30. June 2023