Tate   Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010

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Polke: Watchtower (custom print)
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          Artwork details

          Watchtower, 1984
          Sigmar Polke
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          Original: Enamel paint on bubble wrap 300 x 225 cm IVAM, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Generalitat © The Estate of Sigmar Polke / DACS, London

          One of seven Watchtower paintings that highlight Polke’s interest in non-traditional materials and non-painterly processes. Here he poured paint onto the back of bubblewrap which is then visible from the front. The subject brings to mind the towers soldiers used to police Nazi concentration camps and those along the boundary between East and West Germany, although Polke kept the meaning of the image deliberately ambiguous.

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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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