Michael Wirkner

Paintings and Gouaches

With its winter exhibition 2023/24, the Kunstverein is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the birth of Michael Wirkner, the city’s most important contemporary painter, at the Kunsthalle im E-Werk in Schwerin. Between 1982 and 2008, he created gouaches, drawings and his large figure portraits in so-called ‘wild painting’ in his studio at Schwälkenberg 18.

Here, in his large groups of works Kopfzeichen from 1988, Seestücke, or in the large cycle Meere, from 2000, he made the groundbreaking transition in his pictorial language to an auratically touching colour painting that is both dryly moving and quietly flowing, applied in countless layers. As a passionate painter, Wirkner has developed his elementary means of expression – colour painting – into his original pictorial language. His large series and impressive series of paintings are ground-breaking works of the highest virtuosity that characterise painting in the dawning 21st century in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. His 9-part painting cycle, o.T. 2000, on 4 panels measuring 487 x 262 cm and above that 5 panels measuring 262 x 487 cm for the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin, illustrates Wirkner’s masterly creative vehemence – performed in colour. Parallel to this colourful development, the painter repeatedly devotes himself to his early theme – executed largely in black and white in the lecture of drawing – High Country.

The current Wirkner exhibition in the Kunsthalle im E-Werk shows a rich number of paintings and gouaches from his major work phases.