Currently showing at the me gallery Berlin until the 27 August 2017 is a major exhibition of Sigmar Polke.
With over 150 works on show it is a comprehensive collection showcasing the sheer breadth of creativity and invention of the German artist who died in 2010.
In the 1960s Polke was part of a movement in painting called “Kapitalistischer Realismus” (capitalist realism”) along with the likes of fellow German artist Gerhard Richter. The subversive nature of capitalist realism critiqued both the social realism art of the communist east with the corporate pop art capitalism of the west. I found the current Polke exhibition easy to draw parallels with the last major Richter exhibition in Berlin at the Neu Gallery a few years ago. Both artists have that ability to create art which transcends even the vaguely familiar and turn it into something new and vibrant and where nothing feels derivative or contrived. While Richter’s execution is typically exemplary Polke has a more playful approach.
Walking around the exhibition it is evident that Polke was an artist full of ideas and imagination and not frightened to explore and experiment merging a variety of styles, methods and materials. “Experimental art” in its many forms is not easy to get right. A lot of the time it can fail to engage but Polke’s “experiments” are amusing, intriguing, sometimes captivating and often joyous.
Colour, form, texture and composition are all aspects that Polke seems to be having fun with. Sometimes just a splash or change of colour or by incorporating an additional design or pattern he is able to create interesting, multi layered new perspectives or alter moods. His work elicits responses, be that a smile or just bringing out an enjoyable inquisitive aspect to viewing. Polke was well known for using a variety of techniques and materials to create but you don’t really need to get too hung up on the how or the why or even the what (unless conjecture on the geeky finer details are your thing) and just enjoy seemingly endless examples of artistic creativity, invention and expression.
I found myself being exquisitely drawn in to savoring Polke’s works one-by-one, eager to see what delights would come next. Not sure quite what it is about art that you appreciate greatly but it seems to attack your pleasure neurons. I was definitely aware of this staring adoringly at Polke’s range of creations. I did not care much for meanings, dimly aware that they possibly might be allusive anyway or searching for richer political sub texts.
And so after an hour or so of being able to totally disconnect and take in a satisfying dosage of Polke at the me gallery I stepped back out onto Auguststrasse aware that I had just had a hugely rewarding experience.
All images courtesy of ©-The-Estate-of-Sigmar-Polke-Cologne-VG-Bild-Kunst-Bonn-2016
Sigmar Polke – The Editions is on at the me gallery Berlin April 28–August 27, 2017
Another instalment of our look at some of the finest and most influential living artists in the world. Our series will look at international artists from different fields ranging from comic books to performance art and including the well known to the up-and-coming artists blazing a trail.
Paricio has been named the “freshest thing in the emerging Spanish contemporary art scene in thirty years,” by Juan Manual Bonet, Director of the Cervantes Institute in Paris. He also featured in Francesca Gavin’s 100 New Artists (2011), representing an innovative generation that is forming the aesthetics of the coming decade.
On a recent trip to the National Gallery I found myself been draw to the French landscape painter Claude’s painting of “Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula.”