Martin Kippenberger - vendere e comprare opere

25 February 1953, Dortmund (Germany) - 7 March 1997, Vienna (Austria)

Martin Kippenberger was a well-known painter, sculptor, and photographer; he produced collages and multiples and was a performance and installation artist. Throughout his life, he refused to limit himself to a particular genre. He is now considered one of the most important contemporary artists of his generation.

Breaking off his training as a decorator, Kippenberger studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg over a period of four years. Starting in 1981, Kippenberger constantly changed his place of residence, living, among other places, in Paris, Cologne, Berlin, Los Angeles, Florence, Graz, Madrid, Tokyo, and Vienna.

A leading exponent of the ‘Neue Wilde’ movement that had formed towards the late 1970s, he emphasised aspects of mysticism, eroticism, absurdity, and dilettantism in his art. Having sprung from the spirit of Neo Dada and Post-Punk, one of his most important series, ‘Dear Painter, Paint for Me’ (1979), for which Kippenberger had hired a poster painter to copy motifs from photographs, called the aura of the original into question. Kippenberger touched the nerve of an ironically critical zeitgeist by satirising the social and political situation - he was ‘the darling among favourite troublemakers’ (‘Die Zeit’). His famous abstract painting ‘With the best will in the world, I can’t see a swastika’ (1984) deals with the Germans’ relationship with their history. With ‘Put your freedom in a corner, save it for a rainy day’ from 1990, he created a symbol of Germany’s reunification by reconstructing a part of the Berlin Wall and juxtaposing it with a composite vase.
Kippenberger’s sense of irony also revealed itself in the project ‘Metro Net’ from 1993, for which he had Underground stops and tunnels built - without the trains, of course - in Syros (1993), Dawson (1995), Leipzig (1997), Münster (1997), Kassel (1997), and Grisons (posthumously, 2007).
Kippenberger never felt intimidated by the power of authorities; his sculpture ‘Feet First’ (1990), showing a crucified frog in brilliant colours, caused a shock, and the artist was accused of hurting religious feelings. Even one decade after the artist’s death, Pope Benedict XVI spoke derogatively about this scandalous work of art.

In his numerous self-portraits, the artist depicted himself as marked by life. He did not seek to hide his alcohol and drug abuse of many years. When he died only 44 years old, he left a complex oeuvre whose meaning became increasingly recognised posthumously and for which a rising international demand has developed. Tate Modern in London and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin devoted extensive retrospectives to the artist in 2006 and 2013 respectively. Kippenberger took part in the Venice Biennale (1988) and documenta X (1997). In 2003 he was represented at the German Pavilion posthumously at the 50th Venice Biennale together with Candida Höfer.