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CtC’s Artist of the Month for November is the German painter, photographer and video maker Sigmar Polke (1941-2010). He was an eclectic artist, interested in different tendencies and media. He experimented with material, from paint to objects, fabric to paper and canvas to glass.

Born in Lower Silesia, he moved to West Germany in 1953, to escape the communist regime, and was inevitably influenced by a period of great social changes. From 1961 to 1967 he studied at the Düsseldorf Arts Academy under Karl Otto Götz, Gerhard Hoehme and his teacher Joseph Beuys who was a great influence. In 1963, Polke founded the painting movement “Kapitalistischer Realismus” (“Capitalist realism”) with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg, an anti-style, appropriating the pictorial shorthand of advertising.

Polke was particularly sceptical about authoritarian ideas of looking at and understanding images, rather he was interested in transformation, errors and corruption. His photographic works mainly concern his travelling in Afghanistan, Brazil, France, Pakistan and the U.S., with an interest in experimenting with the media rather than its use as documentation. His paintings range from the pop art of the beginning, to the testing of new materials and the study of their alchemy and interactions from the 80s onwards. He did not have a trademark, other than the fascination with exploring different subjects and new methods, painting on bourgeois wallpapers, on glass or on pictures, or using different fabrics to create canvases and messing about with old slides. He continues to provide a model for many artists who have come after him.

Until the 8th of February 2013, a retrospective of Sigmar Polke will be shown at Tate Modern, London.

Over the month of November, CtC will present a selection of four pictures, a few examples of the immense amount of work he produced, which will be used as cover pictures of our Facebook and Twitter pages, each for the duration of a week.

Check CtC pages regularly to not miss the new one!

Silvia Meloni

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