Achim Kobe


* 1963 in Gießen, Germany, 1992 MFA, UdK Berlin, lives and works in Berlin


Solo Shows


2019 24Hours, Schau-Fenster Raum für Kunst, Berlin

2015 Visual Music, Kellerman Ltd., Berlin

2013 Lithografien, Künstlerhaus München

2011 Pakt (mit Gabriele Basch), Galleri Kalhama & Piippo, Helsinki

2008 Kreise, c/o Becker temporary, Berlin

2004 Galerie Michael Cosar (mit Martin Klimas), Paravents, loop-raum für aktuelle kunst, Berlin,

2000 ...in every dreamhome a..., Galerie Michael Cosar, Düsseldorf

1998 Flur 14, loop- raum für aktuelle kunst, Berlin

1997 Johnson & Johnson Fine Art, Berlin


Group Shows/ Collaborations


2017 Spatial Clearings, loop-raum für aktuelle kunst Berlin

2015 Standard International, loop-raum für aktuelle kunst, Berlin

2012 at the parkhaus, parkhausprojects, Berlin

2010 Flachsland rauscht, Galerie E 105, Berlin

2009 Podrostok, Sox Galerie, Berlin

2007 Hotel van de Velde, Villa Dürckheim, Weimar

2005 Berlin- Torsby, Galleri Thomassen, Göteborg

2004 Papierarbeiten, Galerie Michael Cosar, Düsseldorf

2003 Handlungsräume, Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg

2000 Bilder aus Berlin, Christopher Grimes Gallery, Los Angeles

2000 Berlin_London, Institut of Contemporary Art, London, Mikado Reflex, Galerie Mark Müller, Zürich

2000 Unsquare Dance, Galerie Eigen + Art, Leipzig, Forty Minus One, Duende, Rotterdam

1999 16 Räume, loop-raum für aktuelle kunst, Berlin






If somebody says about himself that he is a painter,

he paints, you may believe that he controls the color in some way,

with an instrument. You also use tools, but it is especially important to you

that the color can flow freely. What does this particular technology mean to you?


Painting is not defined by any specific material. And yet the painting is determined by the material.

My argument is: painting is not defined by the brush or paint roller or canvas or oil paint or acrylic.

It defines itself actually about the function, what painting is. And therein - if there is any real essence

in painting - there is a connection with the function of color. Color is the irreducible essence of painting,

but it is all about the articulation of the color on a flat surface, that is the way we organize color. It is the

quality of the painted color in which you will find my identity. The painted quality of my paintings is directly

related to the material which I use. I paint with very liquid, transparent color. There is the impression of rising

and falling, the color appears to be in the air, it hovers in front of the wall, it obeys physical laws and flows under

gravity down. And somewhere in the whole you find this balance. It seems that the color is just in front of you, a tight

membrane of transparent color, through which the light moves. I can`t reach that with a thick, opaque color. The key is,

the natural conditions of the color allow me to paint with this kind of feelings. The color seems to breathe and this impression

of breathing is related to the light in the painting. Painting includes the movement of light.
The color is the essence of painting. It can not be reduced to anything else. The essence

of painting refers to the fact that color is specifically and exclusively visually, it can not be

translated into another sense. Color is the irreducible essence of painting and color is a

phenomenon of light. To receive its full breath, its full dimension, color needs light. Namely

natural light, because natural light is most extensively, not only based on its spectrum, but

also in its changing characteristics. For the painter, the light is of course the fundamental

source of life. It gives the image the volume, meaning, breath, vision.


When you speak of “spiritual identity”, does it aim in this direction?


The identity of the image, the sensation that one gets mediated by the image, is a thing that can not be defined.

We say that we have a good feeling about this picture or feel attracted of this color, the expression of grief or joy ...

How can one describe this special feeling? I believe that there is a connection between this feeling and the light.

We perceive it through the eyes. Does the image seem to move, or in a certain way seem to have depth?

Whatever is behind these feelings - traditionally you could say, oh man, it’s kind of a spiritual identity,

because it is so indefinable. Since the introduction of psycho-logy and these things we have a lot of

other, different terms to define this. But we combine the idea of seeing the spiritual, traditionally the

visual phenomenon of dematerialized light.


You also refer to the “humanist”, for example in connection with a “humanistic concrete art”.

Does this term includes the problem of the body too?


Concrete art and modernity - which, in my opinion, is the same - are defined by the body.

It is defined by its physical material. And I say, when my colleagues and I talk about that,

we have to find a certain human dimension in the concrete art. A dimension that gives the

pictures life and breath, because the other part of the concrete art is to be something that

just looks like an industrial product. It is a thing, made very analytical, it was established on

a very process-oriented manner and very often it seems to have no inner life. We see a lot

of it on the art markets. So when the concrete art does not find its human dimension, then

the concrete itself will be historically simply regarded as a purpose-free late-industrial product.

The image must reach a human dimension and this human dimension has to do with how we

feel our bodies. Do we feel our body - the images - or do we respond intellectually?

Is it even possible to think, not to feel the body?

Keep in mind that a large part of the installation art is based on concept as an art of daily

political events. It is not made for the viewer as a world of experience, but for the artists

telling their story. Or for the curator, who cataloges art. The concrete art must involve the

experience of the viewer. As a painter, I have to paint as if I am also the viewer of these pictures.

Otherwise I would give him no room to get into the painting. He would simply be a passive observer

who is trying to understand my personal story.

I think it is not possible, to face a painting without feeling the confrontation between the own body

and the body of the painting. One can only see with the body.


What is your paintings relationship to sculpture?


The concrete is defined by its physical nature. There is this third dimension. It is a physical object.

But the painting mostly is made of a flat surface. It has emerged as a flat colored surface. It is a

concrete object, more specifically, a colored concrete object. It is especially an object that has been

manufactured in order to apply color. To reveal the specific dimension of color, the object to which

the paint is applied must be mostly flat, as form dominates our sense of color - as movement dominates

our sense of form. The image has a physical dimension, but this physical dimension is only there to introduce

the dimension of color. The function of its object quality is to present color.


Transparency has become more important for you.


Transparency refers to the feeling of weightlessness, the feeling of light, moving through something.

With transparent color the light travels through the ink. The colors are there, but they seem to have no body.

The light goes in and comes out again. It’s alive, because the light passes through it, moving, the image seems

to breathe.


Is an intimate atmosphere necessary to enable an experience with the picture?


Painting is a very personal and private art form. It is made by a person alone in his studio.

You sit there and meditate watching the paint dry. It is a very intimate, individual, private, sensual experience.

It is not an art form for public arenas or public gatherings. Painting has nothing to do with pop culture.

Botticelli’s Primavera was painted for the bedroom of Lorenzo il Magnifico. It was not intended for the public.

The High Renaissance evolved from a highly educated, elite class of humanists. The intimacy of the painting

can not be generated in the arena of public theater.


Can you explain the transition of the 20th century painting “from representation to actualization”?


This transition is similar to the transition from Gothic to Renaissance. At that time, it took about 150 years.

Our own transition period begins with the invention of the camera at the beginning of the 19th century and

will eventually end up in the 21st century. In the 14th century all the pictures were painted in the Gothic style,

but in the 16th century, all images were painted in Renaissance style. And these 150-200 years are required

to make the transition. After the camera was invented, the narrative image with which the paintings were

traditionally involved, was released. The painter is historically no longer obliged to preserve the external world

and to document or to tell a narrative story. Because the camera, the film, which have taken over. The society

and the painter himself will need much time to adapt to it in order to develop a new identity. As it took 150 years

to enforce the easel picture, we are about to enter this form of painting into the new. What is new is the concrete.

Why making hand copies after the invention of the printing press, if you just want to tell a story?


Do you think that the crisis of the painting has been overcome?


Yes, I think so. Because the distinctions were made. I believe that the painters should leave the art world.

Not to start a new Academy of painting, but simply not to waste time with the pop culture that receives the art market.

There are no issues in the art world, which would be relevant for the advancement of painting. They are all very interesting

questions, very concerned about the personal, the narrative, the political issues and social awareness, but no questions

relating to painting. And I distinguish between the humanitarian concern of the art world and the humanistic identity of painting.

In a sense the painter is free. But his responsibility is bigger and bigger. The dilemma of painting of high modernity arise the very

real possibility of a mannerist reaction.
Painting moves to philosophical and ethical levels, touching a core issue that relate to the very existence.

It remains to be seen whether we can redeem a vision.




Angaben gemäß § 5 TMG:

Achim Kobe
Mariannenplatz 2
10997 Berlin



+49 (0) 30 - 55 10 7248



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