Born in Rommerskirchen-Nettesheim, Germany in 1949, Norbert Prangenberg apprenticed as a gold- and silversmith before turning to fine art. From 1993 to 2012, he held a professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. Since 1981, his work has been exhibited extensively in Europe, including sixteen solo-exhibitions at Galerie Karsten Greve (Cologne and Paris); eight at Galerie Barbara Gross (Munich); and five at Produzentengalerie (Hamburg), among others. Most recently, his work was the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum (2004–2005, Krefeld, Germany); the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (2005, Germany); and the Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen (2008, Magdeburg, Germany). Prangenberg’s work is featured in the collections of major museums around Europe.
In his amorphous yet astutely contained sculptures, Prangenburg never attempts to conceal the hand of the artist or the process by which the piece was constructed. Often Prangenburg would glaze only a small portion of his clay works, allowing the raw materials to maintain and present their unique characteristics. As in his sculptures, Prangenburg took pride in the process of his paintings. He would thickly apply layers of paint with a palette knife, even at times with his fingers, ensuring and reinforcing the visible connection to the artist’s hand.
Critic John Yau touches on Prangenberg’s tendency towards presenting process: “Everything he did was rooted in materiality, ranging from the tangible to the ethereal, and in the transformational progression of his materials. He loved working with stuff that invited his direct physical engagement…that could be shaped, pushed around, spread, spontaneously dispersed, and incised.”