Martin Kippenberger

Kippenberger / Géricault Memento Metropolis


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Not on display
Martin Kippenberger 1953–1997
Screenprint on paper
Image: 598 x 398 mm
Purchased 2005


German artist Martin Kippenberger produced this poster on the occasion of his exhibition of the same name, held at the Hessenhuis in Antwerp, between February and May 1997. The exhibition comprised two parts: in one room Kippenberger reconstructed his 1994 installation The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s America (see Tate P79164), while in another he displayed a series of newly-made paintings and drawings based on Théodore Géricault’s 1819 painting The Raft of the Medusa, together with a copy of the painting made in 1860 by Pierre-Désiré Guillemet and Etienne-Antoine-Eugène Ronjat. Kippenberger’s poster recreates the split nature of the exhibition, showing elongated photographs of the two rooms side by side.

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.)

Further reading
Bice Curiger and Guido Magnaguagno, Martin Kippenberger: Die Gesamten Plakate 1977–1997, Cologne 1998, p.213.
Uwe Koch (ed.), Annotated Catalogue Raisonné of the Books by Martin Kippenberger 1977–1997, Cologne 2002, p.323.
Ann Goldstein (ed.), Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2008.

Lucy Watling
March 2012

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