Martin Kippenberger

The Kippenberger - The Sahara and the Anti-Sahara Programme 81/82


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Not on display

Martin Kippenberger 1953–1997
Original title
Der Kippenberger - Das Sahara und das Antisahara-Programm
Lithograph on paper
Image: 839 x 592 mm
Purchased 2005


This poster was produced on the occasion of an exhibition of German artist Martin Kippenberger’s work at the Forum Kunst in Rottweil, Germany. The artist appears wearing one of the Felt Suit multiples produced by Joseph Beuys (see Tate T07441), seated upon a snow-covered outdoor sculpture by Erich Hauser.

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 stems from early in Kippenberger’s career, predating the first folio.

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.)

Self-examination and promotion were themes that occupied Kippenberger throughout his career: numerous works bear his name, make reference to his personal history or legendary hedonistic lifestyle, or directly compare him to great artists or writers of the past. Here Kippenberger consciously places himself inside and among the works of two older German artists while the title draws attention to his own struggles with alcohol.

Further reading
Bice Curiger and Guido Magnaguagno, Martin Kippenberger: Die Gesamten Plakate 1977–1997, Cologne 1998, p.36.
Susanne Kippenberger, ‘Martin, ab in die Ecke und schäm dich!’, in Der Tagesspiegel, 18 February 2007.
Ann Goldstein (ed.), Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2008.

Lucy Watling
March 2012

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