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The central panel of Triptych was painted in 1997 and is flanked by two further panels made in 2002. At first sight they seem wholly abstract, resembling spontaneous painting gestures. In fact, they consist of carefully selected, enlarged and subsequently altered details from Polke’s earlier series of Machine Paintings, which were based on images taken from newspapers and magazines. The transparent fabric on which the triptych is painted allows us to see the wooden stretcher behind its surface, thereby subverting the traditional illusionism of the painterly surface.

April 2008