In 1985 German artist Martin Kippenberger, together with fellow artist Albert Oehlen (born 1954), produced the book The Cologne Manifesto. Taking the 1976 book In Germany by Austrian photographer Ernst Haas (1921–1986), Kippenberger and Oehlen affixed satirical stickers to its pages with declarations such as ‘I ♥ Gonorrhoea Sunrise’ and ‘I ♥ Peace and Money’. Haas’s modified book was then reissued with this new dust jacket.
Cologne Manifesto was one of 149 books produced by Kippenberger during his twenty-year career. Beginning with Al Vostro Servizio in 1977, the books appeared throughout Kippenberger’s life in a wide range of styles and formats: from exhibition catalogues to bound editions of posters, compilations of texts and photographs to calendars and lists of jokes.
Kippenberger’s books 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. Writing about Kippenberger’s literary projects, the art critic Diedrich Diederichsen has explained: ‘It was not appropriate for a document to simply record an exhibition, an event, a journey or a party, it had to create from these occasions something else, something specific.’ (Diedrich Diederichsen in Koch 2002, p.7.) Like his posters, pamphlets and musical projects, the books 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 their promotion and reception.
Uwe Koch (ed.), Annotated Catalogue Raisonné of the Books by Martin Kippenberger 1977–1997, Cologne 2002, p.98.
Doris Krystof and Jessica Morgan (eds.), Martin Kippenberger, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, London 2006.
Ann Goldstein (ed.), Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2008.