German artist Martin Kippenberger created this poster on the occasion of his exhibition at the Galerie Grässlin-Ehrhardt in Frankfurt. It shows Kippenberger standing among a selection of seemingly random words and names. Hanging from the wall and down onto the floor, these words ‘go to ground’ around the artist, the literal translation of the exhibition’s German title. The poster was designed as part of a multipurpose publication distributed by the gallery; folded, it formed both an invitation to the exhibition’s opening and a leaflet containing illustrations and text by the artist A.R. Penck (born 1939).
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.92.
Uwe Koch (ed.), Annotated Catalogue Raisonné of the Books by Martin Kippenberger 1977–1997, Cologne 2002, p.138.
Doris Krystof and Jessica Morgan (eds.), Martin Kippenberger, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, London 2006, p.43.