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Amplified vision

This concluding room of the exhibition presents works which exude the hedonistic excesses of glam – its retinal extremes and referential eclecticism. A continuation of 1960s psychedelia could be said to be evident in Sigmar Polke’s paintings of the 1970s. In Polke’s Kandinsdingsda 1976, a critique of 1970s German mass culture, bourgeois art deco motifs, among other references from high and low culture, are repeated in a gaudy overload of pattern and colour.

Evelyne Axell’s brightly coloured Campus 1972, based on the 1970 Kent State massacre in Ohio, conveys a sense, as with Polke, of the psychedelic. While her depiction of the event superficially resembles a psychedelic pop poster, its overall effect is one of ambiguous stylised violence. Through the 1970s, Ed Paschke created a highly distinctive series of paintings. Inspired by images from popular culture and electronic media, particularly colour television, Paschke’s idiosyncratic pop vision combined elements of glam fashion and clothing with dazzling optical effects.

Traversing questions of good versus bad taste in art, sculptor Lynda Benglis’s work of the early 1970s is notable, in the context of glam, for its extensive use of glitter; her ‘sparkle knot’ works are suggestive of glamorous excess. French painter Robert Malaval, his studio adorned with Ziggy Stardust posters, cultivated a self-styled rock and roll image. He also used glitter, considering it the ‘make-up of painting’. Interested in what he saw as its synesthetic potential, he used it as a way to amplify his brush, to make it ‘loud like rock music’.