In the early 1980s the German artist Sigmar Polke became a dedicated scholar of pigment manufacture. He favoured highly toxic, banned or otherwise exotic substances, but as a modern day alchemist he shrouded his knowledge in mystery.
This evening’s talk is based on a rare interview between Polke and conservator Pia Gottschaller which took place in 2001, in which the artist revealed some of his literary sources. Join us for a unique opportunity to hear Gottschaller discuss whether the artist’s fascination with imperial purple dye or meteorite dust is relevant for our understanding of his works and how they contribute to the continuing, intentional changes that the paintings undergo over time.
Pia Gottschaller is Painting Conservator at Tate. Her research focuses on issues of technical art history, in particular with regard to postwar and contemporary European and American artistic practices. Among her publications are monographs on Blinky Palermo and Lucio Fontana, as well as essays on Max Beckmann, Mark Rothko, Donald Judd, David Reed, Italian postwar artists, Minimalism and developments in contemporary art conservation.