This poster was one of two designs made by German artist Martin Kippenberger to accompany his exhibition of the same name, held at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in the summer of 1993 (see also Candidature for a Retrospective 1993, Tate P79160).
Though prolific as a painter, sculptor, musician and writer, the 178 posters created by Kippenberger throughout his career form a significant body of work. Normally created as screen prints or lithographs in standard advertisement sizes, they were used to promote a wide variety of events from art exhibitions to upcoming parties. From 1986 Kippenberger began to group his posters into folios, though these were united more by date than by similarity of style or function. This work, however, was never included in such a folio.
Kippenberger’s posters belong to the mass of apparently supplementary material produced by the artist throughout his career that parallels his work in painting, sculpture, installation and performance. However, like his books, pamphlets and literary and musical projects, the posters share with his more conventional artworks the desire to undermine the accepted structures of the art world by defying attempts to understand his artistic output as a whole, by blatantly embracing collaboration, and by actively involving himself in the promotion and reception of his work. As the artist Jutta Koether wrote on the occasion of the 2006 Kippenberger exhibition at Tate Modern:
Martin’s posters best represent him and sum up the range of his ability: the humour, the social critique, the clever combination of provocative images and allusions. They were critical and politicised, perfectly expressing his ideas and his personality.
(Jutta Koether in Tate Etc., no.6, Spring 2006, p.36.)
The exhibition Candidature for a Retrospective constituted a critique of how artists are traditionally valued and how their works are categorised. The show was curated together with artist Roberto Ohrt, who described it as follows:
The show occupied three halls. The first section was Paris, connected to his personal history when he was living there in the early 1980s. The second was about the deconstruction of painting, which included his painting series Invention of a Joke – nine canvases that you couldn’t piece together. The third was Martin’s collection of erotica that consisted of works by friends. Running through all three rooms was this large display cabinet packed with all of his books and printed material. The case went through one of the walls and really formed the spine of the show. The mass of material on display was confusing, and purposefully so. He did everything he could to divert, confuse and make it difficult to decode his work. This was part of the joke.
(Roberto Ohrt in Tate Etc., no.6, Spring 2006, p.34.)
Bice Curiger and Guido Magnaguagno, Martin Kippenberger: Die Gesamten Plakate 1977–1997, Cologne 1998, p.188.
Uwe Koch (ed.), Annotated Catalogue Raisonné of the Books by Martin Kippenberger 1977–1997, Cologne 2002, p.276.
Ann Goldstein (ed.), Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2008.