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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

In Memory Robert Irwin 1928–2023

Editors’ Choice

Sprüth Magers Gallery today announced the death of artist Robert Irwin. Robert Irwin died in California on 25 October 2023 at the age of 95.

Image above: Robert Irwin, courtesy Pace Gallery

“Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers and the entire gallery team mourn the passing of Robert Irwin (1928-2023), who was not only one of the greatest artists and thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries, but also a mentor to generations of artists and a sincere human being. Our condolences go to his wife Adele, his daughter Anna Grace and the dedicated studio family with whom he worked for so many years.

From the late 1950s until this year – he worked well into his 90s – Irwin explored the ways in which our perceptions are affected by our surroundings, as well as our expectations of the interplay of light, colour and space. Through his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and environmental designs, he challenged us to look at and rethink the world around us, sensitising us to elusive changes in ways that had far greater philosophical implications. His works are subtle in character and always strive to challenge art historical conventions. They are deeply experiential and historically significant in the tradition of twentieth-century abstraction.

In 2018, Sprüth Magers had the honour of working with Bob on a site-specific installation at the Los Angeles gallery – still a highlight of Sprüth Magers’ time in LA, followed by exhibitions in Berlin. As with so much of his work, the fabric-covered walls, ethereal shapes and shifting patterns from day to night heightened viewers’ awareness of atmospheric conditions and their sense of being in time and place. One of the last major site-specific works of his career, Light and Space (Kraftwerk Berlin), a monumental light installation that for the first time combined 240 blue lights with 240 of his usually used white fluorescent tubes on a double-sided freestanding wall, was presented in 2021. We know his presence will live on through his many artworks, writings and publications, and send our warmest wishes to all who loved him.”

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