40 gouaches with a format of 70 x 100 cm, all dating from the year 1996, are the core of Sigmar Polke's exhibition bearing the name 'Music from an Unknown Source'. These pictures give insight into an artistic oeuvre which has a singular position in the contemporary art scene of today and belongs among the most significant of the German postwar era.
Since the early 1960s, Sigmar Polke, born in Oels in Silesia (then German, now part of Poland) in 1941, has been concerned with the relationship of the reality as contained in a picture and reality itself, the relation between art and daily life. In regard to this, he often takes an ironical position of some distance to things, which enables him to turn his attention – above and beyond issues of content – to the form and the material nature of painting.
In the gouaches of this exhibition, Polke makes the dripping and flowing of paint his theme, originating from the character of the watery gouaches. The controlled and uncontrolled 'allowing to happen' of physical phenomena plays an important role for Polke. Over the unpredictable flow of paint, the artist lays a regular and predictable screen system as an antipole – something very characteristic of him. Moreover, he gives the pictures titles that sound absurd, which in turn expand what has been presented in them, thus adding a poetic note, and which are exemplary in terms of Polke's stance as an artist.
born in Oels, Lower Silesia
studied at the Düsseldorf State Academy of Art
professor at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts
died in Cologne