Paco Knöller, Monolog 2, 1986, Oil crayon and pigment on paper and canvas, 198 x 275 cm

Paco Knöller
Beneath Me, the Sky
With works from the Hilti
Art Foundation

From 7 May to 15 October 2023 the Hilti Art Foundation is staging a monographic exhibition of Paco Knöller (*1950 in Obermarchtal, Germany) developed in close collaboration with the artist. Since the early 1980s, Knöller has been creating impressively sensuous, powerfully coloured visual worlds based on the interplay of human existence, nature and the universe. The exhibition Beneath Me, the Sky [Unter mir der Himmel] features twenty-five large-format works in oil pastel on wood and paper. Paco Knöller’s works are accompanied by sculptures by Jean Arp, Max Beckmann, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti and Pablo Picasso from the Hilti Art Foundation’s collection.

Knöller’s primary means of expression is the drawn line, rendered with the aid of (coloured) pencils, ballpoint pens, oil pastels or a knife. His supports are paper or wood. The exhibition features solely oil pastel works. Although the motif is always defined by the line, Knöller not only uses the oil pastel to draw lines but also to paint whole patches. This is equally true of his works on paper and wood. In addition, when working on wood he can draw the line in the all-over layers of oil pastel with the aid of a knife, penetrating the skin of colour and uncovering the underlying coloured paint grounds. The result is an almost symbiotic relationship between line and colour. Working with the knife gives the formative line a sense of seismographic unrest that is characteristic of Knöller’s overall artistic style.

Since the early 1980s, Paco Knöller’s motifs and themes have revolved around the human figure. Personal experience and inspiration from literature, film and science are incorporated into individual works or series, as in Monolog [Monologue], Im Schlaf hast du dir alles erlaubt [You Allowed Yourself to do Everything While Asleep], Aufwachraum [Recovery Room] or Künstliche Paradiese. Schlafmohnalphabet [Artificial Paradises. Breadseed Poppy Alphabet].

The titles suggest that this is about elementary existential, boundary experiences. Appearing in the image as a barely tangible outline or solely in the form of head and hands, the human being is a fragile, often homeless creature at the mercy of the polarity of body and mind, life and death, trying to find a form of existence in this realm that must, however, remain uncertain. But at the same time Knöller ties the image of the human being into the context of the inorganic and organic world, into a complex web of earthly, vegetable and cosmic phenomena that are as enticingly beautiful as they are latently menacing.


Uwe Wieczorek, curator of the Hilti Art Foundation




The title of the show is borrowed from Paco Knöller’s series of the same name (unter mir der Himmel) and alludes to an intellectual shift of perspective.

Short biography
Paco Knöller (*1950 in Obermarchtal, Germany) studied at Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1972 until 1978, his teachers including Joseph Beuys. In 1987 he moved to Berlin, where he still lives and works. From 2001 until 2013 he was a professor at Bremen University of the Arts. Since 1978 his works have been regularly shown in solo and group exhibitions at national and international galleries and museums.

The exhibition will be accompanied in August 2023 by a richly illustrated catalogue featuring around seventy of the artist’s oil pastel works from the 1980s to the present. The publication also includes essays by Uwe Wieczorek and Sebastian Kleinschmidt, editor and author, providing an introduction to Paco Knöller’s work. Installation views give an immediate impression of the show. Edited by the Hilti Art Foundation and published by Kerber Verlag (German/English).

Visitor’s booklet (PDF)


Hilti Art Foundation
im Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein
Städtle 32, Postfach 370
9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Google Map

T +423 235 03 00
F +423 235 03 29

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm
Thursday 10am-8pm
Guided tours


Children (16 and under):
free of charge
Regular: CHF 15.-
Reduced: CHF 10.-

Collection/loan enquiries

Hilti Art Foundation
Uwe Wieczorek, Curator
Feldkircherstrasse 100
9494 Schaan
Fürstentum Liechtenstein


For more information, please visit

Hilti Art Foundation

Copyright of content
© Hilti Art Foundation

Copyright of images
© Paco Knöller, 2023, Berlin
© Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich for the work of Alberto Giacometti
© 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich for the work of Hans Arp

All rights reserved. Without permission reproduction and any other use of the work besides the individual and private consultation is forbidden.


Concept and project management
Brigitte Lampert and Hanna Züllig

Corporate identity
Brigitte Lampert

Web design
Brigitte Lampert and Hanna Züllig

Web development
Hanna Züllig and Dominik Stucky

Uwe Wieczorek
Morger + Dettli Architekten AG

Roland Bauer
Barbara Bühler
Anne Gabriel-Jürgens
Valentin Jeck
Heinz Preute
Roland Tännler

Sebastian Frommelt

Julia Thorson