Michael Krebber’s failures have turned out to be his greatest strength. First he failed as an art student, then he failed as an artist. He turned to acting and fell short. Returning again to art, he managed to transform failure, if that’s still the correct term, into his own distinctive and undoubtedly attractive modus operandi. We are all surrounded by people we don’t quite understand. But Krebber, my eccentric colleague since 2002 at Frankfurt’s Städelschule, is a special case: a painter who, as he says, is “fundamentally” no painter, and a teacher who, he maintains, has nothing much to teach. And yet shows of his open around the globe where there are things on display that look like paintings to me. And his teaching—a peculiar mix of screenings, informal meetings, and inscrutable gatherings around carefully selected books, magazines, catalogues, etc.—has become legendary enough to attract aspiring young artists from all over the world. It’s strange. Has Krebber suddenly turned out a success?
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