Martin Kippenberger - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Candidature à une Retrospective, June 16 - August 22, 1993

  • Literature

    Centre Georges Pompidou, Candidature á une Retrospective, Paris 1993, n.p; R. Ohrt, Kippenberger, Cologne, 1997, p. 174 (illustrated); D. Krystof and J. Morgan, eds., Martin Kippenberger, London, 2006, p.55, no. 22 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Often referred to as the "enfant terrible" of his generation, Kippenberger’s diverse approach to painting, together with his unique artistic twists and turns has influenced the contemporary art scene and artists working today, both in content and form. Although nearly ten years since his untimely death, the artist’s iconoclastic attitude to painting has kept his spirit very much alive. His oeuvre has been recognised for its formal merits and artistic relevance – Kippenberger is one of the icons of his time. As a post-war child of a country coming to terms with its past, Kippenberger became best known for his large scale canvases covered with thickly applied paint that frequently confronted his viewers with juxtapositions of motifs and ambiguous titles. His works often took on a humorous and ironic approach, trying to deal with a collective past which would overshadow the physical substance of his art at the time of its execution. Kippenberger’s paintings have quoted, mocked and comically blended traditional composition and formal arrangement with vibrant colours and unique perspective. His personal explorations as an artist helped him to produce paintings influenced by photorealism and impasto laden figuration to quirky, architecturally inspired abstraction, Euro-Pop and paintings with unconventional media.

    The connection between art and life during Kippenberger’s Berlin years, was one that helped define his career – art had no longer been a reflection of his life, but it was his life. Working and living in Berlin, the french bistro had become a local meeting place amongst the city’s artists. Crowded with elbow to elbow tables, the "arty" hangout would become the foundation for Kippenberger’s "Paris Bar" series, basing the paintings on the interiors of the bar in which he spent a great deal of his time. Having spent the majority of his time outside of the studio at the bar, Kippenberger took it upon himself to install the café’s art collection, filling its walls with works of numerous artists and artist friends, and of course many of his own works. Paris Bar had become an art gallery – Kippenberger’s art playground where he could collect, exhibit and visually remind himself, as well as those around him, what an incredible eye he had. The present lot, specifically focusing on an art-filled wall, records the result of Kippenberger’s curatorial mission – it is a testament to not only the bar itself, but also to the art it exhibited on its walls and a constant ‘aide memoire’ of his ability to both excel as an artist and curator. For Kippenberger, it is this concept of the "self" that is a common element throughout his larger body of work – threading through those which are abstract to works such as this, where the ‘self’ has become the core.

    In Paris Bar, Kippenberger has presented his audience with the epitome of what his oeuvre is concerned with, encompassing all, revealing the essential. Whilst having often been criticized for being inconsistent in his style, Paris Bar has captured the common denominator prevalent throughout his body of work – it is his inconsistency that has made him consistent, rooted in a deeply self-referential system. Whether based on his imagined imagery, specific subjects, mockery or traveling life, or even his own appearance - his art has focused on the concept of himself, his persona, his past, his present – all "selvess" emerging as artistic fodder for his creations.


Paris Bar

Oil on canvas.
74 3/8 x 102 3/8 in. (258.7 x 360.2 cm).

£200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for £636,000

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm