The world can only be lifted from the ruins by us.


Group SPUR, manifesto, 1958

Komitee SPUR

Group SPUR, 1960, photograph taken by Christel Fischer (from left to right Lothar Fischer, Heimrad Prem, HP Zimmer, Helmut Sturm)

Almost 60 years ago, in 1957, the artist group SPUR was formed, which subsequently became one of the most influential artist collectives in post-war Germany. SPUR established a local tradition in Munich that was to last until the 1980s. The four SPUR protagonists – the sculptor Lothar Fischer (1933-2004), the painters Heimrad Prem (1934-1978), Helmut Sturm (1932-2008) and HP Zimmer (1936-1992) – triggered harsh reactions from the Bavarian state and judiciary with their controversial art-political activities, the dissemination of pamphlets and manifestos as well as with the publication of their seven magazines. But precisely through these activities the group SPUR significantly contributed to the artistic spirit of optimism in Germany in the 1960s. In their text "The Way we Paint" published in 1959 the group states: "We integrate all the significant tendencies of painting in one system. We are not only abstract but also figurative. We have an abstract method that enables us to be figurative. The forms and objects that originate from the personal preference of the individual blend with the abstract system." Wassily Kandinsky’s oeuvre, cubistic compositions, the painting process of the Informel, Max Beckmann’s works and the dynamics of the baroque image space – all these influences contributed to the artists' highly independent and fascinating visual language, which combined figurative and abstract elements. Politically the group was very open. Its members were consistently – to a greater or lesser extent – in close contact with other artists and intellectuals, not least, in an international context, with the Situationist International around Guy Debord and Asger Jorn. Dieter Kunzelmann, SPUR member from 1960 to 1962 and later founder of the radically anti-bourgeois "Kommune 1", fuelled the revolutionary spirit of the group as a "writing" member. In 1965 SPUR fused with the group WIR, founded in Munich in 1959, and in 1966 the group GEFLECHT was formed.


Chronological table

  • 1952
    first contact between Heimrad Prem, Helmut Sturm and Lothar Fischer at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
  • 1957
    first contact of Heimrad Prem, Helmut Sturm and Lothar Fischer with HP, foundation of an exhibition society whose members also include Erwin Eisch, Dieter Rempt, Josef Senft (= J.K.S. Hohburg) and Gretel Stadler
  • 1958
    publication of the first SPUR-manifesto, signed by Prem, Zimmer, Eisch, Sturm, Fischer, Jorn, Rempt, Britt and Stadler
    publication of the SPUR graphic portfolio with contributions from Eisch, Fischer, Prem, Rempt, Sturm and Zimmer
  • 1959   
    "Bense-Scandal" on occasion of the exhibition Extremisten-Realisten
    SPUR is admitted to the Situationist International (S.I.) on occasion of its 3rd conference in Munich
  • 1960
    first publication of the SPUR-magazine (August)
    participation in the 4th conference of the S.I. in London
    publication of SPUR 2 and SPUR 3 (Sept. and Dec.)
    Eisch and Stadler leave the group
    first contact with Dieter Kunzelmann
    contact with the Dutch painter Jacqueline de Jong
  • 1961
    publication of the Januar- or Gaudi-Manifesto on occasion of the exhibition Engagierte Kunst at the Munich Art Society
    publication of SPUR 4 Die Verfolgung der Künstler (The prosecution of the artists) (January)
    publication of the pamphlet Avantgarde ist unerwünscht (The avant garde is not welcome) on occasion of a conference at the Munich Kammerspiele theater
    publication of the special edition SPUR 5 on unitary urbanism (June)
    the group travels to Sweden to stay with Jorn's brother Jørgen Nash
    publication of SPUR 6: SPUR im Exil (SPUR in exile) (August)
    participation in the 5th conference of the S.I. in Gothenburg
    the group visits Paolo Marinotti in Vittorio Veneto/Italy
    publication of SPUR 7 Album per disegno which was produced in Italy (October)
    confiscation of the Spur-Magazines 1-6 by the Munich department of public prosecution
    contact with the prospective painter Uwe Lausen
    S.I.-film project "So ein Ding muss ich auch haben" (I want that thing, too), featuring, amongst others, Jørgen Nash, Jacqueline de Jong and Maurice Wyckaert
  • 1962
    publication of the SPUR-book including the complete seven editions of the SPUR-magazine, the SPUR-History as well as some manifestos
    exclusion from the S.I. (February)
    first SPUR-lawsuit before the District Court of Munich against Kunzelmann, Prem, Sturm and Zimmer on the charges of heresy, blasphemy and the dissemination of obscene publications (May)
    Kunzelmann leaves the group
    second SPUR-lawsuit with exculpatory assessments by Joachim Kaiser, Werner Haftmann, Walter Jens and Josef Oberberger. For Kunzelmann, Prem and Zimmer the sentence is commuted to 5 months probation. Non-guilty verdict for Sturm (November)
  • 1963
    Apainting of the dining room in Willi Bleicher's country home outside Munich
    co-production Canal Grande Crescente on occasion of the exhibition Visione Colore at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice
    conception of a utopian architectural draft (SPUR-Building), on occasion of the Troisième Biennale de Paris
  • 1965
    contact with the group WIR (Helmut Rieger, Florian Köhler, Heino Naujoks, Hans Matthäus Bachmayer, Reinhold Heller) on occasion of the Augsburger Frühjahrssalon. From April on occasional collaboration
    April: last collective painting event of the SPUR-artists (Mal-Spiel), which lasted several days
    May: establishment of the basic principles for a collaboration with the group WIR
  • 1966
    formation of different teams of artists, who collectively work on three-dimensional anti-objects
    Prem and Fischer disassociate themselves from the group activities
    foundation of the group GEFLECHT, who present their anti-objects for the first time at the Van de Loo Gallery in September

Exhibitions (selection)

  • 1957
    Atelierschau der Gruppe junger Künstler aus München und Berlin, Pavillon Alter Botanischer Garten, München (erste Ausstellung der späteren SPUR-Mitglieder zusammen mit anderen Künstlern)
  • 1958
    Galerie Malura, München (erste SPUR-Ausstellung)
  • 1959
    Extremisten-Realisten, Berufsverband Bildender Künstler, München (Beteiligung)
  • ab 1959
    Galerie van de Loo, München (1962, 1965, 1979 (Kat.), 1986)
  • 1960
    Junge deutsche Kunst, Ulmer Museum, Ulm (Beteiligung)
    Galerie van de Loo, Essen
  • 1962
    Graphisches Kabinett Dr. Hanna Grisebach, Heidelberg
    XVIII. Salon de Mai, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Beteiligung)
  • 1963
    Visione Colore, Palazzo Grassi, Venedig (Beteiligung)
  • 1964
    Junge deutsche Kunst der Gegenwart, Salon Comparaisons, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris / Kunstverein München (Beteiligung)
    documenta III, Kassel (Einzelwerke von Heimrad Prem und Lothar Fischer)
    Galerie Osborne, New York
  • 1965
    Augsburger Frühjahrssalon (Beteiligung)
  • 1980
    Galerie Rothe, Heidelberg
  • ab 1981
    Galerie Georg Nothelfer, Berlin (1987, 2002)
  • 1983
    CoBrA, SPUR, WIR, GEFLECHT, KOLLEKTIV HERZOGSTRASSE, Galerie am Ganserhaus, Wasserburg u. a. (Kat.)
  • 1985
    Galerie von Loeper, Hamburg
  • 1986
    Städtische Galerie Regensburg (Kat.)
  • ab 1987
    Galerie Christa Schübbe, Mettmann/Düsseldorf (1991 Kat., 2003 Kat., 2006)
  • 1989
    La Galerie Condè du Goethe-Institut, Paris
    Galerie Sander, Darmstadt
  • 1991
    Eröffnung des Museum SPUR, Cham
  • 2003
    Galerie Marie-José van de Loo, München
    Saarland Museum Saarbrücken (Kat.)
  • 2004
    Peter und Gudrun Selinka Stiftung, Ravensburg
  • 2006
    Retrospektive Museum Villa Stuck, München u. a. (Kat.)
  • 2010
    SPUR-Raum anlässlich der Jahresgaben-Ausstellung im Kunstverein München
  • 2013
    Kunsthalle zu Kiel (Kat.)
    Sammlung Hurrle, Durbach (Kat.)
  • 2015
    Neupräsentation der Sammlung Kunst nach 1945 der Städtischen Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Kat.)


Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker und Pia Dornacher (Hrsg.), Gruppe Spur, Ausst.-Kat. Museum Villa Stuck, München, Museum Lothar Fischer, Neumarkt i.d. OPf., Kunsthalle St. Annen, Die Lübecker Museen, Hansestadt Lübeck, Ostfildern 2006

Ilonka Czerny, Die Gruppe SPUR (1957 - 1965). Ein Künstlerphänomen zwischen Münchner Kunstszene und internationalem Anspruch, Wien, Berlin, Münster 2008

Wolfgang Dreßen u.a. (Hrsg.), Nilpferd des höllischen Urwalds. Spuren in eine unbekannte Stadt- Situationisten, Gruppe SPUR, Kommune 1, Ausst.-Kat. zur gleichnamigen Ausstellunge des Werkbund-Archivs Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Gießen 1991

Axel Heil für Museum für Aktuelle Kunst - Sammlung Hurrle Durbach (Hrsg.), Gruppe SPUR, Vagabundierende Unruhe, Ausst.-Kat., Durbach 2013

Richard Hörner, Die Gruppe SPUR: politische Manifeste einer Künstlergruppe, Wörth am Rhein 2005

Anette  Hüsch und Dörte Zbikowski (Hrsg.), Dritte Welle. Die Gruppe SPUR, der Pop und die Politik, Ausst.-Kat. Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Köln 2013

Veit Loers (Hrsg.), Gruppe SPUR 1958-1965 Lothar Fischer, Helmut Sturm, Heimrad Prem, HP Zimmer, Ausst.-Kat. Städt. Galerie Regensburg, Regensburg 1986

Galerie van de Loo (Hrsg.), Gruppe SPUR. Eine Dokumentation, Ausst.-Kat. Galerie van de Loo, München 1988 (2. Aufl., 1. Aufl. 1979)

Matthias Mühling, Eva Huttenlauch - Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, München (Hrsg.), GRUPPE SPUR Edition Lenbachhaus Nr. 2, München 2015 

Roberto Ohrt, Phantom Avantgarde. Eine Geschichte der Situationistischen Internationale, Hamburg 1990

Roberto Ohrt, Ein kultureller Putsch. Manifeste, Pamphlete und Provokationen der Gruppe SPUR, Hamburg 1991

Florian Rötzer, „Soziale Phantasie. Gruppen in München“, in: Kunstforum International, Bd. 116, Köln 1991, S. 151-207

Christa Schübbe (Hrsg.), Gruppe Spur 1958 – 1965. Lothar Fischer, Heimrad Prem, Helmut Sturm, HP Zimmer, Ausst.-Kat. Galerie Christa Schübbe anlässlich der Art Cologne, Mettmann, Düsseldorf 2003

Christa Schübbe (Hrsg.), Gruppe Spur 1958 – 1965. Lothar Fischer ..., Ausst.-Kat. Galerie Christa Schübbe anlässlich der Art Cologne, Mettmann, Düsseldorf 1991

Nina Zimmer, SPUR und andere Künstlergruppen. Gemeinschaftsarbeit in der Kunst um 1960 zwischen Moskau und New York, Berlin 2002