ARTPIL Profiles of the Arts

Thomas Lehnerer
artist

Thomas Lehnerer (1955–1995) was one of Germany’s outstanding artists from the 1980s. Although he died at an early age, he left behind an extensive oeuvre consisting primarily of drawings and small sculptures. But Lehnerer also always knew to combine and balance his artistic work with intense intellectual activity. His early years (around 1980–1987) were largely dominated by a religiously oriented engagement with the world, culminating in a dissertation in theology. He then turned increasingly to philosophical issues and developed his own art theory, summed up in his 1993 book Methode der Kunst (Methods of Art). Its central focus is the pre­servation of freedom in the field of tension between thinking, feeling and contextual contingency: the ‘free interaction’ among these components, in his view, allows for the emergence of art.

Lehnerer’s thought and artistic activity cycle around very existential issues dealing with the ‘big’ questions of human existence: life, death, love, God, sensuality and the relationship to nature and culture.

–Friedemann Malsch

[Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein]

Thomas Lehnerer (1955–1995) was one of Germany’s outstanding artists from the 1980s. Although he died at an early age, he left behind an extensive oeuvre consisting primarily of drawings and small sculptures. But Lehnerer also always knew to combine and balance his artistic work with intense intellectual activity. His early years (around 1980–1987) were largely dominated by a religiously oriented engagement with the world, culminating in a dissertation in theology. He then turned increasingly to philosophical issues and developed his own art theory, summed up in his 1993 book Methode der Kunst (Methods of Art). Its central focus is the pre­servation of freedom in the field of tension between thinking, feeling and contextual contingency: the ‘free interaction’ among these components, in his view, allows for the emergence of art.

Lehnerer’s thought and artistic activity cycle around very existential issues dealing with the ‘big’ questions of human existence: life, death, love, God, sensuality and the relationship to nature and culture.

–Friedemann Malsch

[Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein]