Three stained glass windows created by the German artist Imi Knoebel for the Joan of Arc chapel of the Cathedral of Reims were inaugurated on May 11, 2015, in the presence of Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
These works are offered by the artist, who donates his fees, and by the Art Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia, with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A century after the destruction of the cathedral of Rheims during the German bombing of September 1914, the Art Foundation of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia sponsors, with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the creation of three stained glass windows by Imi Knoebel for the Joan of Arc chapel. A powerful symbolic gesture, in the midst of commemorating the centenary of the First World War.
For this creation, Imi Knoebel donates his fees.
Contemporary creation in the cathedral of Reims
These stained glass windows complete the 2011 public order from the Ministry of Culture to Imi Knoebel of six stained glass windows in the apse, located on both sides of those of Marc Chagall. They reinforce the presence of contemporary creation in the cathedral.
The patronage of the Art Foundation of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia is a symbol of rediscovered peace, of common construction and friendship between France and Germany, at the service of the Europe of culture.
The creation of Imi Knoebel covers a surface of 64 m2. It is produced by the Derix Master Glass Workshop in Taunusstein, Germany.
Imi Knoebel’s 2011 stained glass windows were an abstract composition combining blue, yellow and red in nine shades. Those of 2015 take one, identical design, extending the colorful range to twenty seven shades.
Born in 1940 in Dessau, Imi Knoebel gives colour a foundation value, in the architectural sense of the term. A student of Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Academy, the artist explores a wide variety of forms in the abstract art tradition of XX Northern Europee century.
Piet Mondrian for the rigor of compostion, Kurt Schwitters for the art of collage and Frank Stella for the monumental dimension are his assumed influences.
The work created and given for the Chapel of Joan of Arc of Notre-Dame de Reims, a mecca of Gothic architecture, reflects the great tradition of stained glass art in Champagne-Ardenne and continues the invitation made to great artists in the cathedral.
The manufacture of Imi Knoebel’s stained glass windows and their installation in the building were the subject of close collaboration between the artist, the Art Foundation of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs/ Ministry of Culture, representing the state that owns the cathedral.
Since the mid-1960s, Imi Knoebel’s work has established itself on the international scene of contemporary art as a sensitive point of view within the current of abstraction inspired by the decompartmentalization of artistic forms. Attached to a very personal relationship between form and colour, juxtaposed and superimposed, Imi Knoebel claims from the beginning of his life the formal and spiritual heritage of Kasimir Malevich. The use of the fundamental colour of Piet Mondrian and the collage spirit of Kurt Schwitters are also constant in his work.
After studying art at the Düsseldorf Academy in 1964, where he attended Joseph Beuys, Imi Knoebel participated in the utopia of the 1960s, according to which art, by its radicality, can change life.
For fifteen years, he has been rigorously focusing on colour and its infinite arrangements in the spirit of a new foundation of art, in the architectural sense of the term.
Faithful to the radicality of the aesthetic challenges of the 60s, the art of Imi Knoebel expresses today the confrontation with the authority of the great masters of abstraction of the XXe in which spirituality transcends form. His numerous exhibitions in Europe and the United States, in galleries and museums, make Imi Knoebel one of the main European artists present in the current creation.
Born in Dessau, Germany, in 1940, Imi Knoebel lives and works in Düsseldorf.