A. R. Penck - vendere e comprare opere
(or Mickey Spilane, Mike Hammer, TM or Y)
5 October 1939, Dresden (Germany) - 2 May 2017, Zürich (Switzerland)
A. R. Penck was a German painter, sculptor, printmaker, musician and writer. He became internationally renowned in particular for his so-called "Standart" works, which are characterised by a universal pictographic and symbolic imagery devised by him.
Born in Dresden in 1939 as Ralf Winkler, Penck took painting and drawing lessons from 1953 until 1954 with Jürgen Böttcher (known by the pseudonym "Strawalde"). Afterwards, he trained as a draughtsman at the Deutschen Werbe- und Anzeigengesellschaft (eng. “East German State Advertising Agency”, DEWAG). When he later applied to the fine-arts academies in Dresden and East Berlin, he was rejected four times because of his membership in the "Erste Phalanx Nedserd" artists' group. Nevertheless, he took part in evening classes at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden given by Wilhelm Rudolf and Gerhard Kettner. At this time, he also came to know the painter Georg Baselitz.
At the end of the 1950s, Penck occupied himself by studying the works of Pablo Picasso and Rubens. He earned a living with jobs as a stoker and night watchman.
The first of his "System pictures" were created in 1961. In the following years, this multi-talented artist engaged in topics such as cybernetics and information theory.
From 1964, Penck began with his famous Standart works. In admiration of the Leipzig ice-age researcher Albrecht Penck, Winkler adopted his surname in 1968. Penck found an almost inexhaustible source of inspiration for his own creative works in prehistoric (cave) paintings, graffiti and calligraphy. Although he resided in Eastern Germany and was banned from exhibiting, Penck took part in the documenta 5 in 1972 and exhibited his works together with Joseph Beuys in Munich. After six months of serving as a reservist in the People's Army, Penck began a series of works under his pseudonym Mike Hammer. Groups of artworks were created for special music and art events that he organised with his like minded friends. He bonded with Jörg Immendorf over their common work and rebellious mideset. Despite increasing numbers of admirers, Penck had growing problems with the Stasi, culminating in the destruction of his studio inventory in 1979. Penck achieved his international breakthrough after expulsion from East Germany in 1980.
In 1984, the multiple award-winning artist participated in the Biennale in Venice. Penck, who had produced wooden sculptures since the 1970s and bronze pieces since the early 1980s, created marble sculptures in Carrara in 1986. From 1988 to 2003, Penck, who lived in various locations throughout the world, was professor at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf.
The works of Penck appear regularly in the contemporary art auctions at Dorotheum. On 22 November 2017, his 1990 picture Soldato Moderno was sold for €109,239.