Skarstedt presents the first comprehensive exhibition of Martin Kippenberger's Raft of the Medusa series in New York. Organized in collaboration with the Estate of Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, the show is dedicated solely to this exceptional body of work. The exhibition will be a multi-media presentation including paintings, drawings, photographs and a carpet from the series. The Raft of Medusa will be on view at Skarstedt (20 East 79th Street) from March 3 – April 26, 2014.
Featuring paintings from the Estate of Martin Kippenberger, as well as public and private collections, the exhibition will demonstrate the breadth of the artist’s creativity in this singular body of work. The range of paintings and source materials include 16 paintings, 19 drawings, 14 lithographs, 9 photographs and a 8 by 15 foot woven rug which depicts a blueprint of the raft.
Inspired by Theodore Géricault’s 1819 Le Radeau de la Méduse, Kippenberger's series is demonstrative of his conflicted relationship with art historical precedents as well as his tendency to appropriate them.
In The Raft of Medusa series Kippenberger depicts himself as the individual figures from Géricault’s masterpiece. He posed for, then, worked from photographs, taken by his wife, Elfie Semotan. In the largest painting of the series, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the artist recapitulates the whole of Géricault’s composition; now deconstructed in a tangled mess of body parts, faces, a diversity of unrelated strokes.
Martin Kippenberger was born in Dortmund, Germany in 1953; he died in Vienna, Austria in 1997. An extremely prolific artist, Kippenberger worked in multiple mediums, which included painting, sculpture, installation, drawings, posters, photography and collage. Kippenberger’s caustic and humorous works called into question the artist’s role within society and culture at large. His criticism of the artistic status quo and daily life issues would become evident through provocative imagery and–eventually–recurrent motifs that in many cases represented the artist himself and aimed at shocking and disturbing the viewer.
Both within his life, and since his passing, Martin Kippenberger’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions have been held in institutions such as the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin in 2013, the Picasso Museum in Málaga, 2011, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 2008-2009, the Tate Modern in London and the K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf in 2006, the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna, the VanAbbe Museum in Eindhoven and the Museum für Neue Kunst in Karlsruhe and at the Kunsthalle Tübingen, Tübingen in 2003.