When Goetz Adriani, the curator of the exhibition Sigmar Polke: Music from an Unknown Source, asked Polke, one of Germany’s most influential post-war era artist, in 1996 if he would create an exhibition for the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA) or the Institute for Foreign Relations, Germany, Polke readily agreed.
Four months later, standing in Polke’s studio in Cologne, surrounded with large-format gouaches, Adriani was spoilt for choice.
Recalls Adriani in an article: “I set about choosing works that might best represent a résumé of his work. The aim was to put together a group of 40 works that would provide an insight into Polke’s stylistic, formal and iconographic language while demonstrating his ironic use of disjointed multiple layers, his love of experiment and the variation in his work.”
The 40 works are showing for the first time in India in a solo exhibition that opens at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke in collaboration with the IFA and the Goethe Institut, Mumbai, on Thursday.
Hosting the maiden show of the artist is exciting for Ranjana Steinruecke, co-owner of the Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, “Sigmar Polke is recognised for the innovation and dynamism he has imparted to painting.”
Intricate play of dots and lines, a splash of colours and often amusing titles of the works — According to statistics every German owns 10,000 things, to mention just one —amuse and intrigue the viewer.
For those fascinated by the painter, a talk by Ronald Graetz, secretary general of the Institute for foreign Cultural Relations, Germany, on Saturday will be useful.
Polke has a huge following among contemporary Indian artists. Says Jitish Kallat, “Polke has had tremendous impact on artists across the globe and his exhibition in Mumbai will be hugely inspirational.”
Ronald Grätz of the IFA sums up Sigmar Polke’s work: “He observes the world critically and in an ironical way he shows you his sight as a mirror of the things which are going on. I would say his character is that you can’t characterise him.”