For more than forty years, Sigmar Polke has been pushing the idea of what painting can be. His current body of work “Lens Pictures” on view at Julius Werner Berlin is a continuation of this effort.
The inspiration for these paintings came from a book that Polke found dating from 1685. The research of the author, Johann Zahn is considered imperative to the production of the modern telephoto lens. Zahn realized that objects seen through a lens changed in shape and luminescence depending on the viewers angle of vision.
On a personal note, the paintings of Sigmar Polke had a profound effect on me as a young artist. Before the internet it took a huge effort to learn about art and artists. I was up all night, painting and feeling frustrated by the lack of books easily available to artists beyond Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and the like. I new nothing about Sigmar Polke but decided to head over to the MCA Chicago (in their old building) to check out a retrospective.
The exterior of the museum was decorated with polka dots which required me to hesitate outside for some time trying to determine if I should kick over the cash to enter. Once inside I was overwhelmed by the layers of paint and the lack of fear that Polke displayed in each piece. The museum staff had to request I leave at closing time. Later that week I returned with some friends. To this day, when confronted by the paintings of Sigmar Polke, it inspires a special pause.
1 November – 20 December 2008
Julius Werner Berlin