44
44

PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Martin Kippenberger
DER LETZTE BEFEHL IM MUSEUM FÜR UNNÖTIGE KRIEGSFORSCHUNG (THE LAST COMMAND AT THE MUSEUM OF UNNECESSARY WAR RESEARCH)
SALTAR AL LOTE
44

PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Martin Kippenberger
DER LETZTE BEFEHL IM MUSEUM FÜR UNNÖTIGE KRIEGSFORSCHUNG (THE LAST COMMAND AT THE MUSEUM OF UNNECESSARY WAR RESEARCH)
SALTAR AL LOTE

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
Londres

Martin Kippenberger
1953 - 1997
DER LETZTE BEFEHL IM MUSEUM FÜR UNNÖTIGE KRIEGSFORSCHUNG (THE LAST COMMAND AT THE MUSEUM OF UNNECESSARY WAR RESEARCH)

Procedencia

Galerie Wewerka, Berlin 

Private Collection, New York

Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Private Collection 

Phillips, London, 12 February 2010, Lot 15

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Documentación

Exh. Cat., Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Martin Kippenberger: Miete Strom Gas, 1986, p. 45, no. 20, illustrated

Nota del catálogo

Executed in 1984, Der letzte Befehl im Museum für unnötige Kriegsforschung translates as The Last Command at the Museum of Unnecessary War Research and features Martin Kippenberger’s humorous yet politically charged reaction to Germany’s split between East and West. Known for his cynical wit, rebellious expression and anarchic sensibility, Kippenberger confronts his homeland’s haunting past and divided Communist/Capitalist present with this work. During his analysis of Kippenberger’s title choices, Gregory Williams notes that they hold great significance, making Der letzte Befehl im Museum für unnötige Kriegsforschung a fine example of when his “texts simply open up too many compelling interpretive routes into the images that beg to be considered. This is, of course, what makes Kippenberger’s work so rich” (Gregory Williams, ‘Jokes Interrupted: Martin Kippenberger’s Receding Punch Line’, in: Exh. Cat., London, Tate Modern, Martin Kippenberger, 2006, p. 47). Painted with strong, impulsive brush strokes and executed in a luminous colour palette – an expressionistic style contra to the dry conceptualism and cool minimalism which heralded the death of painting – the present work is a striking piece of contemporaneous social commentary produced by an artist who revelled in tackling controversy.

Featuring a transparent ballot box with an open hatch, the present work appears to confront a divided political bias. Split by the table itself, the cast vote is half red – the signature for the Communist East – while the other half is a more neutral grey. Created five years before the fall of the Berlin wall when the divide between East and West Germany was still stringently enforced, this work invokes the troubling schism of a country still tangibly living with the after-effects of the Second World War. However, unlike other artists of this period, such as Anselm Kiefer, this confrontation does not attempt to rectify the past or bare encumbrance, but appears instead as fierce defiance or cajoling of taboos relating to collective memory and trauma. Alison Gingeras notes that “Kippenberger was political, but that was not his central thesis; it was just another set of rules to exploit” (Alison M. Gingeras, ‘Kippenbergiana: Avant-Garde Value in Contemporary Painting’ in: Mark Holbern, Ed., The Triumph of Painting, London 2005, p. 6). Throughout his diverse and provocative career, Kippenberger continuously tested the rule book and attempted to subvert artistic tradition. Indeed, while it may seem customary that he should produce this work with oils on canvas, it must be noted that the medium was considered passé during the 1980s, when cool Minimalism and conceptualism reigned supreme. Therefore, even in this small and unassuming way, the medium of Der letzte Befehl im Museum für unnötige Kriegsforschung is a continuation of Kippenberger’s rebellious punk-fuelled intentions.

The artist's overarching rejection of a specific style and medium resulted in a tremendously varied legacy in which works executed in any format and medium stand testament to an extensively innovative and pluralistic mind. Picking up on charged political agendas and outmoded forms of artistic expression, Der letzte Befehl im Museum für unnötige Kriegsforschung serves as a prime example of Kippenberger’s rebellious and humorous nature, even in the face of fraught cultural taboos.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
Londres