Metro Pictures is pleased to announce Martin Kippenberger's show Pictures of an Exhibition, Part 2. This show was presented in a slightly different format in St. Louis at the Forum for Contemporary Art in November 1993. The exhibition catalogue with an essay by Jan Avgikos is available at the gallery.
Kippenberger selected 15 of his paintings from 1982 to 1993 for this exhibition. Included are works from his thematic series like the No Problem paintings of 1986 or the Prize paintings of 1987. I can't for the life of me recognize any Swastika, 1984, represents Kippenberger's preoccupation with post-war painting that explored German history as a subject matter of alarming thrill and was celebrated in the early Eighties. The title suggests that a Nazi symbol can be discerned in the painting, but since it remains undetectable the question begs: is that reading just a mean-spirited application or is the work simply a clumsy Cubist painting? Kippenberger here, as in much of his work, addresses what he considers a certain hypocritical position of any avant-garde practice, as Jan Avgikos writes:
"If the premise of Kippenberger's paintings is to revisit the Modernist site of negation and to acknowledge its impossibility, which is also to reject the fated position of the avant-garde, it does so by turning the art of contradiction and its familiar trademarks inside out."
The formal and intellectual contradictions are specifically addressed in paintings such as Protected Palmtrees in Boring Frankfurt, (1985) where Kippenberger's glued bumper stickers on the surface affirm that any material can take the form of a joke, ridiculing the depicted subject as a boring image; a palm tree for a painting. Kippenberger's premise is that if you have no illusions of what is worthy to paint, sculpt, make, everything seems possible once again. The assumption of Kippenberger's perpetual 'bad boy' image becomes redundant once it is understood that his formally contingent approach in fact points out the failures and pretensions of 'issue' generated work.
Kippenberger's paintings, sculptures, drawings and artist's books have been extensively exhibited in Europe and the US in galleries and museums including one person shows at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, and Villa Arson, Nice. In 1994, Kippenberger will present new works at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (sculptures) and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC (drawings).
During the Metro Pictures exhibition, the bookstore Printed Matter at the Dia Art Foundation on Wooster Street exhibits artist's books, posters, invitation cards and multiples through February 1994.
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