• 1974
    Born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, as the son of a civil engineer.
  • 1990
    Travelled to New York. Repeated visits to the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
  • 1991
    Travelled to Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya.
  • 1992
    Travelled to Perugia and Florence, Italy.
  • 1994
    Community service at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry in Munich/Schwabing, offset printing and media design (digital &print).
  • 1997
    Study trip to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Holland.
  • 1998
    Multiple trips to Naples and Salerno, Amalfi-Coast, Italy.
  • 1995 - 2000
    Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Graduated to the 1st State Exam in Art Education for Secondary Schools.
  • 1996 - 2001
    Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich. Graduated to the supplementary subject of Chinese (language, written texts, philosophy and history).
  • 2001
    Travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark. Visited diverse museums.
  • 2003
    Relocated to parental estate in Lower Bavaria. Began sketches and screen printings on concrete art motifs.
  • 2005
    First drafts for light sculptures inspired by area usage plans from forestry.
  • 2008
    Work as designer in the furniture industry. Acquired initial know-how in mould-making.
  • 2009
    Initial screen prints of concrete art on own screen-printing machine.
  • 2010
    Beginning of Zarathustra Series, Debutante Exhibition.
  • 2014
    Realisation of initial light sculptures from PMMA plastic.
  • 2015
    Beginning of the Concrete Series.
  • 2016
    Exhibition in the German Hops Museum. Print of the first catalogue.
  • 2018
    First crowdfunding with screen prints.
  • 2020
    Beginning of the Hard Edge Series.
  • 2023
    Printing of postcards with embossing.

work on silkprintmachine

"Omnium enim rerum principia parva sunt."
“All things begin small” – Cicero, De finibus 5,58

The “Concrete Series” from Matthias Held
Dr. Elisabeth Hartung  

Let’s begin with simplicity. Are the simple moments in life not the essential, the decisive, the surprising, the most beautiful? When did you recently have experiences in which you simply were able to only marvel how simple everything is. Simplicity is a value which is not so easy to embody these days when everything is becoming more and more complex. Economic processes, global crises and political developments, digital worlds and changing communication forms have enormous ramifications on the personal living environment and the perception of each individual. We are challenged and yearn for simplicity, in any case for a respite and not seldom for a new beginning.


The search for a sense of purpose has become the central driving force in our society. Despite an almost inexhaustible product range for all needs, more and more people are beginning to rethink this because the permanent striving for more, for complexity and the material cannot be everything. Unmistakably, a change in consciousness has been taking place which manifests itself not just in the subjective life, but rather also has ramifications for the big systems. Matthias Held represents an artistic self-concept which is very highly contemporary precisely because he follows no trends, but rather actively focusses on the society and the possibility of using art to make statements. With the graphical work which he has created for the Hops Museum, he makes simplicity visible and reveals a vision of how multi-layered simplicity can be. From minimal formal resources, lines, bars, cuboids, squares and circles as well as a colour pallet solely from the secondary colours of purple, orange and green in pastel refraction, the artist develops geometric, graphical formations in an impressive design diversity and openness. Formally, at first glance, it reminds one of nothing in the visible reality. They are careful, well-composed, simple artistic formations. They can be read as offers to the observer to enter into them in order to then create correlations to the visible world or one’s own personal experiences by understanding the structures and lines. Lines then meet at crossing points or form orbits which appear to have no end. The graphics are like a concentrate of the world, a type of invitation to take a break and “dim down“ the complex reality to basic structures. The title “Concrete Series“ which is the title of the prints published here in the catalogue also make a concrete reference to one of the most influential artistic trends of the 20th century. Interestingly, the Museum for Concrete Art in Ingolstadt mentions on its Internet site that the artists’ generation which was born in the 1970s never would allow itself to be referred to with the label “Concrete Art“.


Matthias Held was born in 1974 and this precisely fits his core. As an artist, he does not allow himself to be led astray by designations, classifications or categorisations, but rather, with an awakened consciousness of his contemporary era, chooses an artistic approach which, as the museum likewise attests, as current as at the start of the 20th century. Beginning with the famous Black Square of Malevich, abstract painting decisively characterised the art of the last century: Think only on the grid paintings from Piet Mondrian and the de-Stijl movement through the American hard-edge painting. The radical renunciation of the depiction of the visible via rational reduction - and not via the subjective gesture of abstraction - was one of the decisive forerunners for the conceptual art. The concrete art in general can also be understood as being the artistic symbolic beginning for something great. It has always been about more than mathematical and logically-comprehensible grids; about the most fundamental priciples, as in structures, systems, information, perception, societal utopias and reforms.


The concrete art resolutely scaled its design vocabulary almost down to zero in order to create flexibility for the design of the future.


The Latin titles are then coherent which Matthias Held gives his well-proportioned graphics: “Concordia“, “Fortitudo“, “Humanitas“, “Indulgentia“, “Libertas“, “Probitas“, “Sententia“, “Temperantia“, “Caritas“, “Fraternitas“, “Sapientia“, “Forma“, and “Benignitas“ are humanistic ideals upon which our culture is based, which thus yearns for a new beginning and they are virulent and more important than ever owing to the present challenges. Matthias Held does not illustrate these concepts. He searches for new manners of expressing complex phenomena precisely through the surprising combination of form and conceptuality in the greatest-possible simplicity. As an artist at the beginning of the 21st century, he relies on his very own power of sensually experiencing art, of setting recognition processes into motion. He invites the observer to discover new things for himself and the world, in the thoughtful pondering of the structures, in the recourse to the wealth of knowledge and experience of our culture via the humanistic concepts and while creating an association correlation both to our reality and the ideals which our society has created for itself. In the best sense of the enlightenment ideal and the spirit of the modern era which postulated the design of the culture and the future as being an active activity of all. It is not always about discovering everything new. Sometimes, the greatest knowledge victory lies in simply shifting the perspectives of things that have apparently been known for a long time and suddenly what has long since been known also appears in a quite new light. Let’s return once again to simplicity. For Josef Beuys, each person was an artist thanks to his special abilities by means of which he can co-design the society as a whole. A design activity could also be the cooking of a soup from the simplest natural ingredients. During the process, energy is released, transformed and passed on to others. As the Spiritus rector while resorting to an archaic lifestyle, the artist initially has only invoked the creativity and the societal-forming power which lies in each individual.


With his well-proportioned, beautiful graphics, Matthias Held makes a concrete offering to the discourse on ideals in a broad sense. The society develops from communication and encounters. Jürgen Habermas impressively depicted how the public developed from the discourse regarding art in the salon of the 19th century. For our future, this will always still be valid. Art offers a sufficient opportunity to first reflect on the simple and small things. Everything else oftentimes then develops surprisingly easy.