KP Brehmer

KP Brehmer

KP Brehmer

Opening Thursday March 21st, 2019 from 6pm
From March 22nd to June 14th, 2019Via Nassa 3/A Lugano

Galleria Allegra Ravizza is pleased to present the first personal show in Switzerland about the artist KP Brehmer (1938 – 1997) at the spaces of the gallery.

Kp Brehmer was born in Berlin in 1938 and studied in Düsseldorf as a graphic artist. He immediately joined the “Capitalist Realism”, making a decisive contribution to the creation of West German Pop Art, asking questions about the emerging society of new consumers born after the war. KP Brehmer did not partecipate in political discussion like other artists and did not joined any political party, despite this his oeuvre rests on a precise political dilemma: how can art be mobilized as vehicle for politics when the historical catastrophes of the previous years have corrupted and modified the idea of politics? His conceptual reworking of advertising motifs, the incorporation of visual media culture into his own imagery, the anonymization of the artwork, but also the questioning of notions of authorship were aspects of KP Brehmer’s practice that linked him to the international neo-avant-garde of Pop Art. The artist chose a reproducible, objetive and serialized mediums such as prints, books, postcards, stamps, editions, displays and films.

KP Brehmer’s work is based on a rigorous study on the notion of the code. Each work is generated through an automatism or a series of rules the artist imposed on himself. The result is an artwork that can exist therefore not thanks to a manner exercise but, on the contrary, to its limitation.

KP Brehmer’s work turned neutral signa and elements into precise illustrations depicting the economic, social and political realities in postwar West Germany, as well as focusing on more global issues in order to show the effects the capitalism, the wars, the mass production and mass media have had on the society.

From the early 1960s until his death, his works questioned the impact of media images in their social circulation and mass production on the people, focusing mostly on the German Federal Republic. As an artist, he encouraged his audience to adopt an indipendent attitude towards the capitalist-controlled media.

For that reason, since his earliest artistic productions, KP Brehemer used illustrative materials taken from the most common commercials, from the political propaganda of the time and recent history, in the form of posters, television commercials and journalistic magazine, and reworked these materials in graphic form, paintings, paper editions, books and films. His codes allowed him to create a new images with intrinsic meanings and specific references.

The artist made his own the aesthetics of the most common windows, of stamps and statistical diagrams, re-encoding them through changes of meaning to make visible to the public how the marketing strategies used by the sales teasers or the state editions and all the media work on it. This is the manipulation that everyone suffers involuntary by the mass media.

The exhibition shows the work of an artist who is a forerunner of the contemporary time, with a subtle irony and immense foresight, presenting some of his iconic works from 1967 to 1979.


KP Brehmer was born in Berlin on Septempber 12th, 1938. In 1959 he graduated as engraver and started immediately to realize his early engravings and etchings. From 1959 to 1961 he studied graphics at the Werkkunstschule in Krefeld. Then, he began to use photographic films, radiograms and block prints and further studied graphics at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where he worked until 1963. After a year’s residence in Paris at the studio of Stanley Willian Hayter, he returned to Berlin and dedicated himself to various projects: at the beginning he created different graphic works and from the 1966 and 1967 he produced his series of stamps and, the next year, colors and scales and different demographics and film works.
From the Seventies different color geographic, demographic and sociographic works were created and in 1971 KP Brehmer became professor at the University of Fine Art in Hamburg, where he has worked until 1997.
In 1973 he began his experiments on the thermal images and, shortly after, on soundscape to which he worked until the 1980s. Between 1987 and 1988 he was a guest lecturer at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.
KP Brehmer was passed away on december 16th, 1997 in Hamburg.

KP BREHMER NACHLASS, Berlin in collaboration with Diehl Gallery, Berlin