Born in 1938 in Oppeln / Upper Silesia, Michael Badura studies at the Textile Engineering School Krefeld between1955 to 1957; from 1957 to 1960 he is a student at the Werkkunstschule Krefeld. After 1960 Badura works as painter and designer. From 1962 to 1963 he works as lecturer at the Werkkunstschule Kassel, and from 1963 until 1978 as technical draughtsman at the Universität Göttingen. From 1978 to 1979, he teaches at the Städel School in Frankfurt; since 1979 he has held a professorship for Painting and Fundamentals of Design at the Universität Wuppertal.
Until 1963 Badura worked in traditional techniques of drawing, printmaking, and painting. He was soon taken by the question, »whether – or to what extent – can art or creative work be an adequate means for achieving general knowledge that it makes relevant and accessible to the community« (Fehr 1992). With regard to the contemporary art scene, Badura follows an independent path dictated by his own theoretical writings; thus appearing to be more of an »artist-researcher« (Fehr 1992) than a producer of art. His theoretical interests lean more to abstract relations as found in structures arising through constellations of individual objects – ecological, museal or historical relations, or structures of knowledge and color – and the conditions of their coming into being.
Early works such as Der Organisator (1964) and Klumpenmuseen from 1970 - demonstrate this along with his concern with ecological problems that becomes visible around the mid-1960s. The color concept behind Farbmenschen in the 1970s can be understood both metaphorically and as absurd color model and identity transformation. Badura devotes himself in a work group in the 1970s to manifestations of history, placing fictional content, historical indices, and the relation between object, facts, and history, in the focal point of his methodical analyses (Die Geschichte einer Kriminalgeschichte 1972/73; Hypothesenbilder, from 1973). The work onFarbdossiers (Badura, Bochum 1978) can be seen as consequential continuation of arbitrary and logical-causal connecting structures in history books. In addition, the possibilities of producing digital pictures and the computer as instrument of systematization, which Badura as one of the first artists explores in the 1980s are all developments indebted to his conceptual approach.
His works appear to aim continuously at the mediation of a picture of the world and world order, i.e., at grasping all the »substances on earth in all of their valences«, as the artist himself describes his textually commentated canning jar archive Eingeweckte Welt from 1964/67 as a »Collection of processes« (cf. Bleilegende 1971;Kürbis-Geschichte, 1972). Here he relies on the experimental play with selected objects, which he forms in ever-changing arrangements and structures, in order to gain access to new fields of knowledge. The texts Badura writes for individual works and segments of work, continually offer conceptual work-oriented commentaries and references that are often highly irritating.
Michael Badura’s work has been exhibited since 1961 widely in theme and work specific group shows (including »Eingeweckte Welt – das totale System«, Göttingen 1967; »(Orwell-)Büro«, »Fragment-Geschichten und Hypothesenbilder«, Florence 1976; »Farb-Häute und Farb-Blätter«, Wuppertal 1983; »Werkauswahl«, München 1988). Badura takes part in the Documenta 6 in 1977.
Fehr, Michael: Michael Badura, Werke bis 1991, Nürnberg 1992
Michael Badura: Ausst.-Kat. Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal1983
Michael Badura: Ausst.-Kat. Heidelberger Kunstverein, Museum Bochum, 1978
Michael Badura: Ausst.-Kat. Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt/M. 1975
Michael Badura. Klumpen, Fichtel, Eingewecktes Gift: Ausst.-Kat. Städtisches Museum Göttingen, Göttingen 1971
Texte v. Michael Badura: badura.in.hagen.de