Sigmar Polke - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Ha.Jo.Müller, Cologne; Alfred Kren, New York and Cologne; Private collection, USA

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Sigmar Polke, October 20– December 31, 1988; Pittsburgh, The Carnegie Museum of Art, loaned to the permanent collection, 1990-1999

  • Catalogue Essay

    Because his work arises in an advanced materialist society, in which individuals react to a de-experience of the world provoked by the ‘technological dominion’ and the ‘reduction of the People to Mass’ by resorting to drugs to hyperheighten their sensibility, it is as if a Polke painting has also to be chemically ‘drugged’ in order to transcend the physical event of the pure process of its production, and thus to achieve a metaphysical tenure. ‘This sort of work is made easier by drugs, and it makes no difference if it’s a question of coffee, or sugar, or beautiful weather,’ Polke said in a conversation with Stephan Schmidt Wulffen [in June 1988]. When it comes to his paintings, the drugs are called azurite, arsenic, orpiment, green Schweinfurt, lacquer, ad synthetic resin. Through the workings of their material spirit the artist can convey an organic metaphor of the cosmos within the literality of esthetic production.
    The ‘existentialization’ of the pictorial surfaces and spaces, which Polke pursues with an obsessive experimentation with pigments and their presumptive properties of activating retinal/spiritual configurations, however, goes beyond simply implying that the phenomenological quest of the systematic explorer of toxic ecstasies (à la Henri Michaux) is brought into the bloodstream of the painting itself. The ‘existentialization’ also signifies that the work is perennially at the threshold of a sacrificial killing of painting…
    The enormous range in content and style ( from epic to comic) of these(mostly borrowed/manipulated) images gives Polke’s work the peculiar character of a spiritistic playground, which in turn infuses his iconographic modes with the romantic tones of a descent into a ghostly visionary netherworld- a trait that has to some extent linked to[most] iconography. Mario Diacono,Transapparitions: The Inifinite Paintings of Sigmar Polke, Mary Boone Gallery/ Michael Werner,New York, 1999, n.p.


Nackte (Nude)

Resin lacquer on synthetic fabric.
88 5/8 x 118 1/8 in. (225.1 x 300 cm).
Signed and dated “Sigmar Polke 88” on the reverse.

£300,000 - 400,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £748,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm