Sigmar Polke was one of the more successful, more recognizable contemporary German painters until his death in 2010. It wasn’t too long ago when he was rewarded with his own retrospective at the Tate Modern in the UK, and as a product of the glorious swinging sixties, when art, fashion and music was beginning to boom again, his art certainly deserved that kind of treatment.
Before the sixties, abstract expressionism was king. But Polke, like others of his time, rallied against its pretensions. He sought to create something more literal, more human in the aftermath of two shocking world wars. The problem, for observers, is that he mixed this quest for literary with his own, rather unfathomable mind. Let’s take a closer look at this truly post-modernist master.