In the 1960s, Polke lifted the subjects for most of his paintings from printed adverts, in this case advertising a film featuring Elke Sommer (left). He would use a slide projector to blow these up onto canvas, then trace and paint each dot by hand. Certain areas of the painting have been worked into more heavily, distorting the subject and making it looser and more painterly.
Sigmar Polke: Alibis
150 x 190 cm
Dispersion paint on canvas
Date of work
Original: Dispersion paint on canvas 150 x 190 cm Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart © The Estate of Sigmar Polke / DACS, London
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.