Sigmar Polke (1941-), Untitled, 1963
This drawing of four men’s heads is typical of Polke’s early work, which is figurative, anti-formalist, and devoid of any deeper significance. Working in a primitive style, using nothing more than crayons and a thin ballpoint line, he traces the outline of a face.
One of the main trends in Polke’s art is his reflections on the relationship between art and reality. During the early 1960s, he joined other artists in practicing a style that they tellingly called ”capitalist realism” – a spin-off of US Pop art, but without its fascination with commercial culture.
A contrast to abstract painting and Pop Art
Polke’s oeuvre has always positioned itself within the framework of modernist practices, but his objective has always been to corrupt that very practice. In this drawing, for example, he mimics the special aesthetics of the culture industry and advertising in an ironic form that can be viewed as a contrast to (self-) important abstract painting and slick, polished Pop Art.