Martin Kippenberger Untitled 1994

Martin Kippenberger
Untitled 1994
Freidrich Christian Flick Collection

Martin Kippenberger Untitled 1993

Martin Kippenberger
Untitled 1993
Private Collection

Martin Kippenberger Untitled 1991

Martin Kippenberger
Untitled 1991
Collection Stolitzka, Graz

Everyone is an artist
Joseph Beuys
Every artist is a human being
Martin Kippenberger’s ironic version

Kippenberger made hundreds of drawings on hotel stationery, a body of work that comes across as a kind of travel diary. Although he often lived in hotels for weeks or even months, he didn’t stay at all the hotels whose notepaper he used, often picking it up from other sources. The stationery became, like so many things he encountered, a readymade material for his art.

While drawings and sketches usually enable artists to explore ideas or prepare for a larger painting or sculpture, many of Kippenberger’s drawings have a compulsive quality, giving the impression that they were made by a dreamer or doodler who plans and schemes yet fails to complete a project. In fact, he often made these sketches after or in the middle of a painting, sculpture or larger project, and each work is both a standalone artwork and a fragment or extension of an ongoing narrative. The drawings form part of Kippenberger’s strategy to create a seamless, ongoing integration of his life and work.

There are four groups of drawings in this room, three on hotel stationery, and each group relates directly to one of the artist’s projects. One group of drawings, which often feature a large grill or vent, relate to METRO-Net, a fictitious subway system for which Kippenberger built entrances, exits and ventilation shafts in the Yukon, Leipzig and a field on the Greek island Syros. The second set relate specifically to The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s ‘Amerika’ 1994, a large installation displayed in Room 7 of this exhibition. The third set are from an exhibition called Über das Über, and contain many common Kippenberger motifs and themes, such as lamps, kitsch, erotica, and food (especially his favourite dish, noodles). The watercolours, painted by Kippenbeger’s assistant, depict the covers of Kippenberger’s books – many of which are displayed in Room 2 – accompanied by a bibliophile’s magnifying glass, a reference to works by Marcel Broodthaers that used the same motif.