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This poster was produced to promote a lecture given by Martin Kippenberger and fellow German artist Albert Oehlen at the Art and Design School in Cologne on 9 November 1987. Standing in front of a boat that has run ashore, Oehlen and Kippenberger pose in oversized white underpants, with dressing gowns hanging over their left arms. The scene consciously recreates American photographer David Douglas Duncan’s 1962 photograph of the artist Pablo Picasso wearing similar attire, which became a symbol for Kippenberger of masculinity, the power of artistic fame, and the inevitability of aging (see, for example, I Could Lend You Something, But I Would Not Be Doing You Any Favours 1985, Tate P79090).
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 third of Kippenberger’s five folios, Good Regression Needs No Excuses. Published in 1988 in an edition of twenty-five, each folio contained twenty-four posters made between 1987 and 1988.
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.)
Bice Curiger and Guido Magnaguagno, Martin Kippenberger: Die Gesamten Plakate 1977–1997, Cologne 1998, p.101.
Ann Goldstein (ed.), Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2008.
Eva Meyer-Hermann (ed.), Kippenberger Meets Picasso, exhibition catalogue, Museo Picasso, Malaga 2011.