The summer exhibition at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is devoted to the Munich-based artist and theorist Thomas Lehnerer (1955–1995). This survey show, the very first, will feature well-known sculptures, series of paintings and drawings, unexhibited works and ideas previously unexplored.

I have a small sheet of paper (blank or already drawn on), a piece of canvas or a lump of wax or clay before me, I sit in front of it or walk around with the material. Initially, my mind is focused on just one question, the question of beginning, the artistic question of principle: How does an image come about?

(Thomas Lehnerer, Methode der Kunst, 1994)

In his short lifetime, Lehnerer did not take the existence of art for granted, instead interpreting its task and content in great depth. In his writings, above all in Methode der Kunst [Methods of Art], he elaborated on seminal texts of aesthetics, cultural theory and art history, developing a concept of art expounded in his artwork. His small-format, figurative sculptures, predominantly of bronze, lead or wax, his drawings, watercolours and early spatial installations follow his theoretical premises, addressing universal human themes. He adds further depth to his examination of our existence by incorporating figures from cultural history or theology and a host of found objects.

Attention to coincidence and found objects played an important role in the creation of Lehnerer's works and indeed is often a starting point. The seven-part series of drawings and paintings Die ganze Welt [The Whole World] (1985–86) together forms a 'counter-world' with the aim of creating knowledge about existence. In general terms, Lehnerer devoted a great deal of attention to the process of creation and inner contemplation. The focus is not on visual aspects, but rather on absolute presence in the creation and viewing of the works. They mark a difference from the world, while simultaneously mediating between the world and the viewer. Lehnerer described this aesthetic dimension as 'free play' between subjective feeling and objective connection to the world.

The exhibition is a production of Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, curated by Friedemann Malsch. It was created in close collaboration with the Thomas Lehnerer Archive.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a German-language publication with text contributions by Herta Müller, Marcus Steinweg and others.