Martin Kippenberger (1953 - 1997)

Lot 6: Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)


June 23, 2005
London, United Kingdom

More About this Item

Description: Untitled (Woman and Money)
signed with initials and dated 'M.K. 95' (on the reverse)
oil, silicone and coins on canvas
47 1/4 x 39 3/8in. (120 x 100cm.)
Executed in 1995
Artist or Maker: Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
Provenance: Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Notes: Property from a Private American Collector

'Madcap', 'maverick', 'the enfant terrible' of contemporary German art; these are the terms by which Martin Kippenberger is repeatedly described. An artist who dedicated himself to a life of constant production and creativity whether it be inside or outside the mainstream of the art world, Kippenberger's art is a collation of the weird and the wonderful in which creativity is often celebrated entirely for its own sake.

A painter, sculptor, poet, musician, conceptualist and installation artist, like Joseph Beuys before him, Kippenberger operated creatively in all areas of life. Like Beuys too, he was fully adept at the art of self-promotion and seemed happy with the role the art world gave him of holy, (or perhaps more appropriately, unholy) fool, as it was a guise that gave him the freedom to do as he chose and even to offend if he so wanted, and, it seems, he often did.

Believing art should disturb, disrupt, provoke, question and be very much 'of the now' Kippenberger was dismissive of artistic tradition and of the pretensions of any talk about peinture. In his painting he deliberately took a multifarious and varied approach to the pictures he made on canvas. Adopting many nondescript styles, even having others paint pictures for him and constantly changing the style of his work so as to attain an essentially generic and styleless way of painting he created a unique and strange body of work. This approach, along with the wealth of bizarre but often strangely memorable imagery of his works, lent his paintings a constant freshness and immediacy of impact. In this untitled work of 1995, a sign-like cartoon portrait of a good housewife type of woman shown winking at the viewer is painted amongst an orange and white checkerboard background. Stuck onto the canvas and spiralling out from the centre of her head are various silver coins in a wide range of currency. These combine with the domesticity of the advertising-like imagery to create a strangely provocative and commercially suggestive image.

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