Arte Madrid Fair
Basics on Composition / Informal Multitudes
Helmut Federle is without question one of Europe’s most respected painters. Though Federle paints a relatively modest amount each year the cumulative weight of his practice situates him alongside other senior painters such as Richter, Knoebel and American painters such as Kelly and Ryman.
Helmut Federle was born in Solothurn, Switzerland in 1944. He studied (1964-69) at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule, Basle, taking time off to travel in Tunisia, Afghanistan, India and Nepal. From 1979 to 1983 he lived in New York. Returning to Europe he first lived in Zürich. Since 1984 he has lived in Vienna.
Helmut Federle’s work is characterized by austere, mostly geometrically organized picture forms, arranged in sequences but with some monumental individual pieces. The colouring is often broken – grey-black or yellowish green – and the separate elements are arranged into a clear and carefully balanced pictorial structure. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Federle produced predominantly geometric paintings, grey-black in colouring. Subsequently, he painted several parallel sequences of images with interrelated colour surfaces, taking, for example, a horizontal H-form as his starting point (the Basics on Form, started in the early 1990s). Since 1994 Federle has worked with variations on a picture format with a pale-coloured rectangular form (his Corner Field Paintings). With his commitment to abstraction, Federle stands in the tradition of Classical Modernism and its search for spiritual content within non-objective form.