artist / participant



press release

Martin Kippenberger
A Retrospective
November 1, 2019–February 16, 2020

Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997) was not only one of the most important German artists of his generation, he was also one of the most versatile. The epitome of the "typical artist," he lived an indivisible symbiosis of life and creativity—intense, excessive and without regard for the personal consequences.

All his works can be described as self-portraits in the wider sense of the word and tell us something about the artist, his time and his environment. At first glance they seem informed by a carefree dilettantism, a strategy he used with his tongue firmly in cheek and great deliberation. Kippenberger’s work is marked by excessive, sometimes transgressive creativity, great empathy as well as an astounding diversity of form and content. Earnestness, pathos and humour are the cornerstones of his practice, and his titles often provide vital clues.

Kippenberger was a master of the knowing game, of sounding out and putting together. In his ever-changing roles, he reinvented himself as artist, performer, author, creator of exhibitions and books. He questioned identification and authorship by using all available techniques of reproduction to duplicate and disperse his works. A case in point is his unorthodox decision to commission a professional billboard painter to paint his works, among them Lieber Maler, male mir ("Dear painter, paint for me").

The survey exhibition sheds light on Martin Kippenberger’s unusual practice in all its facets and across all media—from painting, sculpture and installation to drawing, collage, editions, artist’s books and posters.

Rein Wolfs, director of the Bundeskunsthalle, comments, "Martin Kippenberger was a catalyst of impressions of all kinds—he emphasised, exaggerated, transformed and reshaped things; he used irony and satire, he recontextualised and opened a level of thinking that went far beyond the picture."

Curator: Susanne Kleine
Director: Rein Wolfs
Managing Director: Patrick Schmeing