Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Peter Doig Talks about Sigmar Polke's use of Popular Imagery

In an article in the Tate Etc, in 2014, Peter Doig talks to Mark Godfrey about Sigmar Polke and mentions how the German Artist has influenced his approach to source material for his work. Doig refers to an exhibition, A New Spirit in Painting from 1981, that was held at the Royal Academy, a show that was very influential in forming Doig's methodology:

"I felt much more connected to Polke because of his use of popular imagery in a kind of witty irreverent way, and that he was prepared to use all types of visual language in his own work, unlike Richter who would be painting paintings that looked like photographs." (page 59)

Still from one of Polke's 16mm Films
Doig talks about his first experiences of seeing Polke's 16mm films first shown in Hamburg, some of which were appearing in the exhibition at the Tate:

"I was surprised by the way the camera operated like an eye examining everything in an almost uncomfortable voyeuristic fashion, details of faces, watching people."

Doig is acknowledging the use of film as a tool to examine and gather material and how it surprised him. Potential this may have been in an unsettling way based upon the content of the film, that showed bear-baiting in Afghanistan. But he goes on to say in the interview that he doesn't feel Polke used this, or such, footage in his work rather that the source material for Polke's later work was from contemporary newspapers, magazines and the internet.

Doig doesn't talk of this range of eclectic source material disparagingly. In fact he seems engaged by this use of media and his exposure to this at an important stage of his development, as a painter, will have shored up his own ideas of where he gathered his own inspirations.


FISCHIL, P. & DOIG, P. & GODFREY, M. A Contemporary Visionary, Tate Etc. Issue 32 Autumn 2014,  Tate Media, UK

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