Thursday, August 13, 2009

textiles and art: sigmar polke

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with the work of Sigmar Polke. Last week, when I was talking about Malka's batik, I mentioned that this pattern made me think of dot screens.

Really, it was Sigmar Polke's dot screens that I was thinking of.

Sigmar Polke
Bunnies, 1966
synthetic polymer on linen
58 3/4 x 39 1/8 inches
149.2 x 99.3 cm
image from Hirshhorn Museum

Sigmar Polke
You May Be Spending a Lot of Your Weekend Thinking About Alternative Careers, 2000
Acrylic and Indian Ink on Paper
Image from National Galleries of Scotland

When I was looking for these images, I discovered a body of work entitled "Lens Pictures", inspired by a book about lenses published in 1685 by Johann Zahn. Zahn discovered that objects seen through a lens will change in shape and luminescence depending on the angle of vision of the viewer. *

I find this idea fascinating, and I love this work on the conceptual basis alone.

But it was the textiles in these paintings that stopped me in my tracks before I knew about the concept.

Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting), 2007
mixed media on fabric
78 3/4 x 74 3/4 inches
200 x 190 cm

Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting), 2007
mixed media on fabric
74 3/4 x 78 3/4 inches
190 x 200 cm

The last two images are from Michael Werner Gallery, where you can see the complete exhibition of Lens Paintings.

*from look into my owl

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