Prompt: For this project, our aim was to create an "Artist Trap" - an artwork, installation or plan for a space that would commemorate, criticise or provide food for thought for our chosen artist.
The artist I chose to study for this project is Sigmar Polke – an influential German artist born in 1941 in Poland, amidst of World War II. He and his family were expelled to communist East Germany after the war however his family escaped from the Communist regime in East Germany in 1953, traveling first to West Berlin and hen to West Germany Rhineland. Growing up in the German Democratic Republic left a lasting impact on the artist, specifically the sensorial overload of consumer culture he felt after moving to West Germany in 1953. While studying at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Polke, Gerhard Richter, and Konrad Lueg, created what is now known as the Capitalist Realism – responding to the nationalistic themes of Socialist Realism, while also critiquing West Germany’s fast growing consumer society.
At the MoMA, I viewed one of his more recent series, “Full Moon in Aries” – a series of 40 framed prints all lined up across two walls. Wanting to place his work in a modern context I created an animation of two of his pieces from this series for my artist trap. In his journal “Some Observations on the Early Drawings of Sigmar Polke”, Martin Hentschel discusses “Polke’s playfulness” and describes his creative process as a “game” with shapes – a childishness I tried to employ thought the movement of the shapes in the background. The main criticism Polke has of consumerism is its unoriginality and its “banal reality”. I emphasised this idea towards the end of the animation by playing with multiplicity and repetition using the modern day reference of Starbucks cups, while also alluding to Andy Warhol’s pop art – an artist the Polke took much inspiration from during the early stages of his career.