The pictures are painted or drawn on torn pieces of white or brown paper and on large-format envelopes. Some drawings incorporate stamps, such as the one of a big toad, which carries a Czech stamp on its body with two small toads. The pen-and-ink drawing of a cat contains the remains of a handwritten address: Mr. Herbert Achternbusch, Burgstr. 81. Most of the animals are outlined with black pen, painted over or filled in in colour; some are sketched only with brushstrokes, with the light areas simply left out, as in the picture with the handwritten name of Achternbusch’s daughter NAOMI, who was born in 1993.
These envelope pictures reflect the artist’s spontaneous way of painting. The animals are reduced to basic forms, featuring onomatopoetic lettering, such as MIAUO or MUH. The fun was probably in the spontaneous, sweeping execution and the father’s improvised accompanying narrative. The slim book was put together from individual sheets of paper, which served as cues for the bedtime ritual. The title "Guten Morgen" ("Good Morning") refers to the ritual of bringing your child to bed with the comforting promise that a new morning is waiting.
Herbert Achternbusch, born on 23 November 1938 in Munich, is a well-known German writer, filmmaker and painter. He lives in the Bavarian countryside and in Munich. Following an education at the Academy of Arts in Nuremberg and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he soon had success as an author. Beginning in the 1970s he became particularly famous for his numerous avant-garde films. In recent years his interest in painting has increased again.
Achternbusch has always been known for being an anarchic and non-conformist artist. He loves provocation and often irritates with his grotesquely exaggerated humour, which has repeatedly earned him the accusation of blasphemy. Achternbusch cultivates both the Bavarian dialect and his own linguistic creations. He writes stories, novels, plays, and screenplays for his films. In painting, he usually works with watercolours often on brittle surfaces (woodchip wallpaper, bamboo), slapped on with a wide brush, telling his stories with colourful expressive forms and figures on large formats.
Jörg Drews (hrsg.): Herbert Achternbusch, Frankfurt / Main, 1982
Marina Schneede (hrsg.): Herbert Achternbusch, der Maler.
Katalog zur Ausstellung in München, Düsseldorf, Wien, Hamburg, Berlin. München, 1988