Sigmar Polke

1941 in Oels, Niederschlesien – 2010 in Köln

Gegen die zwei Supermächte − für eine rote Schweiz

Sigmar Polke, Gegen die zwei Supermächte − für eine rote Schweiz, 1976, sprayed stencil painting on newspapers, laminated, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

The Kleinbürgerserie, ten large-format works on paper, which includes the work from the collection of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, marks a turning point in Sigmar Polke’s oeuvre. While the Rasterbilder of the 1960s ironically analyzed the economic miracle, Polke now moves on to launching an artistic attack on social norms. During a time dominated by hippie culture, punk, and terrorism, he searches for alternative ways of life – albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way. In Gegen die zwei Supermächte –  für eine rote Schweiz Polke uses the photograph of a demonstration as a template, on which a banner carries the title of the work. Using the stencil technique, he sprays the image onto newspaper, more precisely onto three issues of the Zurich Tages-Anzeiger from 1976. By using the authentic image, the sprayed slogans, and the printed media as an image carrier, Polke suggests the truthfulness of the picture’s message, which, however, appears dadaistic, provocative, and absurd. Long before the fall of the Wall and the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, Polke takes a stand in an artistic discussion of the situation between East and West.

AK