Germany, 1927 – 1993
Ernst Michael Kolb was born in Mannheim, Germany. As a young boy, Ernst was sent to a series of boarding schools. His mother, who was committed to a mental hospital in the 1930s, died in 1941 as a victim of the Nazi regime’s extermination programme for physically and mentally disabled adults. Kolb worked in Mannheim as a baker until 1977, while also visiting numerous lectures, concerts, political meetings, theatre performances and all kinds of events in the city and its surroundings. In 1969 he was hospitalised due to advanced diabetes and he started to draw in notebooks and on the back of postcards. Aged fifty, Kolb finally had time to himself and he used it to draw and to educate himself. Ernst Kolb’s compositions are distinctive in the light and decisive movement that courses through the twisted bodies he represents as well as in their sharp, precise and energetic strokes.