The elusive Polke produced work of astonishing diversity and versatility throughout his career and forged a painterly vocabulary that was utterly unique in its embrace of innovative artistic forms and ideas. His works teasingly defy categorisation, eluding association with conventional art historical movements in favour of an eclectic stylistic language. A time of extraordinary creative ferment, the 1980s saw Polke receive serious international critical consideration: just two years after the creation of Doppelbild (Skyscraper), the artist showed at documenta and in 1986 he represented Germany at the Venice Biennale. Having given up painting for most of the 1970s in favour of experimenting with other media such as photography and film, Polke returned to it with renewed energy in the 1980s. By this time, his work had gained a new vitality and pictorial dynamism akin to the radical brilliance of his paintings of the 1960s.
The artist's influential practice has continually drawn attention from major artists and collectors alike and his seminal importance in contemporary art history was once again confirmed with the major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern in London, and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne during 2014-2015. Displaying a spellbinding tension between abstraction and figuration Doppelbild (Skyscraper) stands as a true testament to the artist's extraordinary creative innovations of the 1980s and epitomises that judgement made of Polke by the director of Tate Britain, Alex Farquharson: "Polke's works were everything painting wasn't supposed to be: vulgar, mocking, parodic, decorative, heterotopic, discontinuous, self-reflexive and self-critical... By the 1980s, Polke was the consummate and emblematic Post-modern painter" (Alex Farquharson, 'Sigmar Polke', Frieze Magazine, No. 81, March 2004, online). Staging a return to the subject and medium that propelled Polke to early critical acclaim, Doppelbild (Skyscraper) signals the beginning of a tremendously productive and applauded decade for the artist.
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