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Description: oil and silicon on canvas, in four parts

Executed in 1985.
Dimensions: 155 by 180cm.

61 by 70 7/8 in.
Date: 1953-1997

Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
Notes: With an oeuvre which embraced many different media and ideas, Martin Kippenberger was one of the most complex and diverse artists of the 1980s and 90s, whose conceptual and expressive influence continues to exert a profound influence on the international artists of today. During the 1980s it was Kippenberger who first championed a new form of liberal artistic expression that was in opposition to the highly polished aesthetic of the New York School. Now, a decade after his premature death, artists such as Daniel Richter and Franz Ackermann are spearheading a new group of painters who are bringing fresh impetus and drama to the painted medium following a period when its obituaries were being written.

Martin Kippenberger's multifaceted art was deliberately preoccupied with the mechanics of style as a reference to society. He developed an elaborate concept of aesthetics based on bad taste where the trivial and the subcultural became as influential on his working practice as the masterpieces of art history. In his ongoing deconstruction of accepted, fixed positions of content and style in Art, Kippenberger's grand embracement of a wide variety of emphatically "unacceptable" subjects in his oeuvre allowed him to develop a programmatic and inter-contextual "stylelessness". Often sparked off by the banality of life, by politics, media and advertising, for Kippenberger there was no subject which could not be turned into art.

New York zum Russisch Abbinden is typical of this stance, where the romance of the New York skyline is dramatically broken by a fusion of compositional and painterly effects. Taking a subject as serious as the Cold War which had reached a critical moment in the mid 1980s, the work consists of four quadrant canvases joined together within a single frame placing a permanent 'crosshair' on the New York landscape. The hairline gaps between the canvases and the thick passages of silicon under and over the painted surface add a dramatic sense of fragility and corruption to this universal symbol of Western capitalism and power.

Further expanding the notion of global acquiescence in the age of common international mobility, the central source of Franz Ackermann's multi-media, association-based work is travel. His dramatic fusion of materials, surfaces and textures takes the viewer on a voyage into the richness of human experience, exploring the conceptual notions of illusion and space that we build up in our minds as a result of the expanse of visual knowledge which is now available to us. Although abstract in appearance a painting like Evasion VI is like a mental map, hinting at the most basic shapes, forms, colours and rhythms which define contemporary consciousness.

Daniel Richter's highly expressive, individual technique involves the eclectic appropriation of forms and ideas from numerous sources as a stylistic coalescence. Spontaneously painted and containing a rich assortment of approaches and forms, Hoch in Bremen does not seek to replicate the world we live in but take us instead on a journey around the painterly consciousness in the 21st century. This broadening of the painterly medium into a multi-media feast of ideas and styles to reflect the contemporary state of mind could not have taken place without the restless creative mind of Martin Kippenberger.
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Contemporary Art, Part 1

February 10, 2005, 12:00 AM EST

London, United Kingdom