Tate   Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010

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Polke: Polke as Astronaut (custom print)
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          Artwork details

          Polke as Astronaut, 1968
          Sigmar Polke
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          Original: Dispersion paint on fabric 90 x 75 cm Private collection © The Estate of Sigmar Polke / DACS, London

          In this humorous self portrait, Polke has depicted himself as aimlessly drifting in a children’s balloon surrounded by astronauts. This is a reflection of his dislike of artists being placed on pedestals.

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          Artist details

          Born in Germany in 1941, Sigmar Polke was one of the most insatiably experimental artists of the twentieth century. He worked in off-the-wall materials, often appropriating images and techniques from other artists. Polke took a wildly different approach to art-making throughout his career, from his responses to consumer society in the 1960s to his interest in travel, drugs and communal living in the 1970s and his increasingly experimental practice after 1980. This love of experimentation, abrupt stylistic changes and of contradiction, irony and mocking remained essential to his innovative art and have left his work hard to categorise, even after his death in 2010.

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