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In Focus: Sigmar Polke

The Lambrecht-Schadeberg Collection

Alongside the exhibition “Sigmar Polke and the 1970s” the Museum für Gegenwartskunst displays all works by Sigmar Polke from the Lambrecht-Schadeberg Collection on the second floor. The museum owns 26 works and series by the 11th Rubens Prize Winner of the City of Siegen which are for the first time shown in their entirety. The variety of techniques as well as the artistic interests and references which Polke uses are exemplified here.

Sigmar Polke, Strand, 1966, The Lambrecht-Schadeberg Collection, MGKSiegen, © The Estate of Sigmar Polke, Cologne/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Throughout all phases the recurring element is the focus on painting, sometimes more, sometimes less visible. In this regard various connections can be tied between painting and photography, while photography is the technique with which Polke engaged the most during the 1970s.

In early grid paintings of the 1960s, e.g. “Strand” (“Beach”, 1966), Polke uses found footage from everyday life or advertisements which he enhances and transfers to his paintings. By the end of the 1960s the humorous, ironic, anarchist Polke comes to the foreground – a good example for this is “Apparat, mit dem eine Kartoffel eine andere umkreisen kann” (“Apparatus with which a potatoe can orbit another potatoe”, 1969).

In the 1980s the artist then experiments with chemicals and light sensitive substances such as silver bromide or interference color. In 2007 on the occasion of the Rubens Prize exhibition Polke created the work series “Strahlen Sehen” (“Seeing Rays”) in an entirely new technique, so-called lens grid paintings. As a reference point he used an etching from the 17th century. In multiple layers – the classical canvas, the image and the manually created lens, 2cm above – the new artwork is created. Here, too, Polke demands a certain curiousity and concentration from his audience. The excitement about guided chance, the playful aspects and ambivalent authorship is part of the artist’s entire career.  

Apart from the exhibition “In Focus: Sigmar Polke” selected works and series from all thirteen Rubens Prize Winners of the City of Siegen are permanently displayed on the first floor.


23 Works in the collection