German artist Martin Kippenberger produced this poster on the occasion of an exhibition of his so-called Peter sculptures, held at the Max Hetzler Gallery in Cologne in 1987. ‘Peter’ was a term used by Kippenberger to refer to people or things ‘that were somehow generic, un-complex, able to be reduced to a single attribute or function’ (quoted in Goldstein 2008, p.86). Kippenberger’s exploration of the generic can also be seen in the design of this poster, with its mannequin-like figure and its use of advertisement text.
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.90.
Uwe Koch (ed.), Annotated Catalogue Raisonné of the Books by Martin Kippenberger 1977–1997, Cologne 2002, p.133.
Ann Goldstein (ed.), Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2008, p.86.