(born as Ralf Winkler) Dresden 1939 - 2017 Zurich
A. R. Penck is the pen name of the artist Ralf Winkler and is his sly response to the dogmatic cultural policy of East Germany and the harassment he suffered as its former citizen, being an artist. At the same time, it points to a geomorphologist by the same name whom he holds in high esteem. In the early 1960s, strongly schematised figures reminiscent of prehistoric cave paintings appeared in his oeuvre. These archaic figures and symbolic signs henceforth became the characteristic feature of his bold and colourful pictorial and formal language which he also applied to his sculptures. In 1980, Penck was expatriated. He moved to West Germany and taught as a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1989 to 2005. Penck exhibited his works at the documenta and the Venice Biennale several times.