Part of a series of five paintings created in 1988 as a tribute to indigenous American cultures. In the darker areas Polke has attached Native American tools and arrowheads bought in an antiquarian shop in Germany.
The Spirits that Lend Strength are Invisible V (Otter Creek)
Sigmar Polke: Alibis
300 x 400 cm
Silver leaf, Neolithic tools, and synthetic resin on canvas
Date of work
Original: Silver leaf, Neolithic tools, and synthetic resin on canvas 300 x 400 cm San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Purchase through a gift of PhyllisWattis and a gift of Frances and John Bowes © 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.