ALIBIS: SIGMAR POLKE 1963 -2010 TATE MODERN

9 October 2014 - 8 February 2015

Curated by Mark Godfrey with Kasia Redzisz

 

Sigmar Polke seriously makes me laugh.

 

This show spans the whole life and career of the German artists Sigmar Polke (1941 - 2010). What this collection makes evident is the artists’ relentlessness and willingness to always experiment. Throughout his career he reinvented his methodologies and questioned the role of the artists within society, always attempting to overturn standards and transgress boundaries. He was previously known to me primarily for his painting, yet this exhibition is a statement to the vibrant and inquisitive stance the artists nourished for drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, texts, performance and videos and in keeping with his rebellious nature he often adopted a satirical or undermining tone of voice towards all these standard conventions. 

 

Polke avoided any definition or fixed point of view, shown both by his range of subject matter, multiple mediums and references and also by the constant layering of the images both in his painting and photography. He is a destabilizer; from his early works exhibited under the term 'Capitalist Realism' to his works 'Moderne Kunst' or 'Cardbordology' or in the film ' Berlin Window Gallery Block'. He is constantly mocking the art world. This assimilation to reject I see as the artist's own apprenticeship, an owning of those ideas that expressed his own particular opposition to these. 

 

This position enabled him to act as he is the precursor of many of the concerns that arose for artists after him, in Germany and abroad including the artists Jonathan Meese, Daniel Richter, Julian Schnabel and Neo Rausch. Issues that Polke treated in his work concerning the reproduction of mass media images through painting, the choice of taboo subjects as pornography and the Nazi regime, as well as a self-referential painterly concerns were take up by artists after him.