|Sigmar Polke, Girlfriends, 1965/6|
Whenever I read a positive article about Sigmar Polke I am filled with enthusiasm. I love the idea of an artist who makes work about sausages and socks; I am highly sympathetic to the ethos which is typically ascribed to his work: curator Mark Godfrey described him as an alchemist in reverse, "Gold seems to be turned into shit… We see [his work] more in terms of contamination and poison. It’s not really about transformation to raise things up – almost everything becomes toxic." His work is messy and confusing: "Polke’s paintings could be cantankerous and awkward and weirdly ugly, and could also leave you standing on the brink of beauty, wallowing in gorgeous colour." (Adrian Searle.) I like its roots in 'Capitalist Realism', his and Richter's sceptical response to Pop; I love the idea of its bloody-minded resistance to easy consumption. Which is also, unfortunately, just my problem - when I have actually seen his work I am often left feeling I don't quite 'get' it and frustrated. However, I will go to this retrospective (enthusiastically reviewed by Adrian Searle and Richard Dorment) and try again.
Read reviews by Adrian Searle, Waldemar Januszczak, Richard Dorment and a preview by Holly Williams.
|Sigmar Polke, The Sausage Eater, 1963|
|Sigmar Polke, Alice in Wonderland, 1971|
|Sigmar Polke, Heron Painting II, 1968|
|Sigmar Polke, Polke as Astronaut, 1968|
|Sigmar Polke, Portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald, 1963|
|Sigmar Polke, Untitled (Quetta, Pakistan), 1974-8|