Martin Kippenberger - Ohne Titel, 1991

1996 - Dauerleihgabe der Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst

Martin Kippenberger was born in Dortmund in 1953 and died in Vienna in 1997. As a colourful and provocative personality, he investigated the system of the art industry by studying the most varied artistic figures. A decisive factor of this work is the continuous processing, as well as ironic treatment and questioning, of themes and traditions of the visual arts. He staged his own persona with the help of various identity models and stereotypes, such as, for example, the ‘macho’, the ‘club owner’, the ‘manager’ and the ‘creative yuppie’. Time and again, Kippenberger addressed current issues revolving around society, politics, culture and even history.

Martin Kippenberger: Ohne Titel, 1991 © Estate of Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

Ohne Titel (Vögel und Panzer), 1991
The painting Ohne Titel (Vögel und Panzer) from 1991 is part of series of works that refer back to the series Krieg böse (War bad) from 1983. The source image depicts an armoured cruiser, on which a Santa Claus figure is positioned as a sentry. With the ironic title Krieg böse (War bad), Kippenberger mocked the trivialisation, which determined the public image of the German peace movement at the time. In his opinion, this cast a blind eye on the fact that wars across the globe since 1945 have not become more rare, but rather merely less visible. Kippenberger criticised all forms of escapism and naive anti-war attitudes by painting a Santa Claus figure on the armoured cruiser with his rod raised in admonishment. In 1991, two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kippenberger gave this motif to one of his assistants for further processing. The new series of works that resulted is characterised by its oversimplification and enlargement of the source image. In the work Ohne Titel (Vögel und Panzer), the Santa Clause figure has been replaced by a canary or rather budgie.