quarta-feira, dezembro 19, 2007

Sigmar Polke

Sigmar Polke and “The Axis of Time”

As is always the case with his work, Mr. Polke said, the paintings for the biennale sprang from specific ideas yet evolved in mystical ways as he experimented. “This is the meeting point of ideas and materials coming together,” he said in his German-accented English. “You see what you want, but you have to work with the painting, and the results are always different.”

Altogether, it has taken him two years to apply and dry the poured lacquer surfaces of the seven abstract paintings he has created for the Biennale. Jointly titled “The Axis of Time,” they are to form the heart of the biennale’s signature exhibition in the Italian pavilion, called “Think With the Senses — Feel With the Mind. Art in the Present Tense.”

The show was organized by Robert Storr, the artistic director of the biennale and a former curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Given that he views the exhibition as “a meeting place of conceptual and perceptual art,” Mr. Storr said, it was a natural choice.

“Polke for a long time has been the most interesting, least predictable of the painters around,” he said by phone from Venice. “He’s almost impossible to get a bite of. People don’t know what to say right off the bat when they see his work. It has a deep kind of shrewdness.”

Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate in London, who has exhibited Mr. Polke’s work since 1995, said that quality of inscrutability played into the fascination. “He turns base metal into gold and base fabrics into great paintings,” he said. “But he is a very difficult artist to get hold of. He makes Richter, who’s complicated, look simple.” (Mr. Polke is often grouped with Gerhard Richter because both came of age and experimented in West Germany in the 1960s.)

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