Heinz-Günter Mebusch

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Heinz-Günter Mebusch, born 1952 and died 2001 in Düsseldorf, was a German conceptual artist, photographer, philosopher and world-traveller. He had spent already a part of his childhood in Windhoek, Namibia, where his father worked as a doctor. A tolerant and cosmopolitan atmosphere also encouraged his later desire to get to know people and the world. He studied with Otto Steinert and Erich vom Endt at the famous Folkwangschule, Essen (today called Folkwang Universität der Künste). Later he became a lecturer there. In his work he used photography as an adequate media to create art. As a remarkable tool for doing art on site he invented the unique Flying international Studios and he got well known for his artists portrait –concepts Journey to planet ars and Face to Face. Planet of Artists, which were influential as well for his German born Swiss-American artist friend Vera Isler-Leiner (1931-2015), who became famous with Faces to Faces. The basic idea was to create his art project about the importance of the individual as an creator. At the end this project leaded to an imaginary museum of culture, symbolizing the individual human spirit and search for freedom. He collaborated for his project with hundreds of artists, probably the who is who in modern and contemporary art. As a tribute to his fellow artists and as a copyright reference he used to print his portraits as a first study and documentation in a small numbered edition with signatures of the portrayed and with his fingerprint. But feeling himself as an artist, not only as an documentarian, his basic idea was to handle his shots as material to built up his own art cosmos, also to visualize his idea e.g. in larger, mostly oversized photo prints. This portrait work can be seen as well as an imaginary museum of the creators of important art of his time. His concept was to demonstrate the individual human being behind the artwork (ref. Wikipedia). At last he became a creative conceptual artist with a main focus on photography. Photography was just his perfect media, like canvas and brush for the painter. Anyway portraying made him well known, his subjects range additional from straight photography (mainly his travel projects), over constructive pattern motifs to experimental abstraction.

Mebusch’s art concept points in regions where neither time nor space prevail. The path he had tread – from pictorial thinking to an advanced thought process – makes it possible to unite history and the future. Mebusch created a new look in photography and in detail a large and deep view on the art world. His cooperation with most of the great artists of his time was really an art joint venture to visualize his ideas. The results, a compendium of formal aesthetic, seem very close to the formalism of the couple Becher from Dusseldorf, but in place of buildings he was focused on living beings, especially on creators. Mebusch was the only artist of his time who portrayed his artists’ friends in a way that were created directly as art works itself. In his portraits Mebusch gave art a face. Every artist, regardless of his ranking, is presented as a member of the new avant-garde family, which was a common phenomenon of the contemporary time of Mebusch. Each portrait itself became influent in art and representative also for the most of the artists.

The whole body of his work and his archive is organized by Artforum Culture Foundation I the Mebusch Estate, who is also the copyrightholder.
In 2020 at ArtForum Editions a monograph is published in 2 volumes: Geglaubte Wahrheiten. Beitrag zur Philosophie der Fotografie. Betrachtungen zum Werk des Konzeptkünstlers und Fotografen Heinz-Günter Mebusch, Orestis G. Safiriou (2001), new edited by Peter Merten, 2020 (available at Global Galleries or international bookstores). 




Artforum Culture Foundation