Based on a photograph in a 1920 volume entitled Physical Phenomena of Mediumnism
, that shows a Polish medium, Stanislawa Tomczyk, in the process of levitating a pair of scissors. The medium herself is a ghostly image, painted in part with mica on a support of painted fabric. At the right, the canvas has been split vertically by a slit two feet or more in length, as if with the medium’s scissors.
Sigmar Polke: Alibis
290 x 290 cm
Acrylic, iron mica on furnishing fabric
Date of work
Original: Acrylic, iron mica on furnishing fabric 290 x 290 cm Private Collection © 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.