German artist Martin Kippenberger produced this poster for his first exhibition of photographic work held at the CDD Galerie Düsseldorf in the autumn of 1985.
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 forms part of the first folio, T.Ü., which stands for ‘Title Überflussig’ (Title Unnecessary). Published in 1986 in an edition of sixteen, each folio contained seventeen posters made between 1984 and 1986.
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.)
Self-examination and self-promotion were themes that occupied Kippenberger throughout his career: numerous works bear his name, make reference to his personal history, or directly compare him to great artists or writers of the past. Moving into the field of photography in 1985, Kippenberger compared himself to Helmut Newton (1920–2004), the German-Austrian fashion photographer then at the peak of his worldwide fame. Yet this homage is coupled with critique: naming himself as ‘Helmut Newton for the Poor’ Kippenberger seems to judge the photographer’s association with the rich and famous.
Bice Curiger and Guido Magnaguagno, Martin Kippenberger: Die Gesamten Plakate 1977–1997, Cologne 1998, p.53.
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.
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