Robert Rotar (1926 - 1999)
The artist Robert Rotar, called the magician of the spiral, is born in 1926 in Berlin. From 1950 to 1953 he studies painting, furniture and interior decoration at the Staatliche Kunstschule in Bremen and at the Kölner Werkkunstschule. In 1953 he becomes Manager of the furniture design company Knoll International in Stuttgart. He begins to draw and paint spirals. From 1957 to 1973 he heads the first branch of Knoll International in Dusseldorf. He becomes a Member of the Deutschen Werkbund in 1957 and starts an intensive exchange with astrophysicists and nuclear physicists, molecular biologists, neurologists and genetics researchers on the subject of the spiral in order to obtain new knowledge on his subject. At the same time he does in-depth studies of philosophical and religious writings. In 1963 he constructs a painting machine that put to paper his artistic ideas of space and time spirals by means of a rotation system. In 1967 he takes out a patent for the painting machine. From 1973 he concentrates on artistic activities with the focus on painting and photography, seals and stamps his works. From 1981 he has a studio at Villa Engelhardt, Düsseldorf. Robert Rotar dies in 1999 in Dusseldorf. Rotar holds a special position within the German avant-garde art scene of the second half of the 20th century. His work is difficult to assign to a group of artists or a style. Rotar’s central motif is the spiral, which kept him occupied continuously over 45 years of his creative and working life. It represents to him the symbol of „infinity“. His approach can be called deductive from a philosophical point of view. Amongst Rotar’s artist friends are James Lee Byars and Joseph Beuys, whose actions he documents as a photographer. Rotar’s comprehensive written estate is kept at the art archives of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
1963 First own exhibitions, photo documentation of Beuys actions 1973 Individual exhibition at the Kaiser- Wilhelm-Museum, Krefeld 1995 Exhibition at the Foundation Museum Schloss Moyland "Joseph Beuys in der Photographie" 2009/2010 Retrospective at the Foundation Museum Schloss Moyland and the Sammlung Kunst in NRW, Aachen-Kornelimünster 2013 "ROTAR - drawings", Galerie Dierking at the Art Cologne