Bitteschön Dankeschön. A Retrospective

1 November 2019 to 16 February 2020

Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997) was one of the most versatile, productive and influential German artists of his generation. Like no other, he embodies the image of the ‘typical artist’. Like no other, he lived an indiscerptible symbiosis of life and artistic production – intensively and excessively, with all personal consequences. All his works are self-portraits in the broadest sense: They say something about him and his environment – even those that do not depict an actual image of him. His work is complex and is based on permanent self-questioning, whereby he does not shy away from breaks or even outright failure.

«I want to have an influence on how these times are debated.» Martin Kippenberger

His activities included acting, performing, making exhibitions, organising and writing. His rich œuvre comprises music, photographs, drawings, posters, collages, multiples, editions, artist’s books, paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations. His instinct for his own public image was just as important a working strategy as his well-functioning network.

His art appropriates, quotes and deconstructs before it constructs something new. Kippenberger’s work is based on a good knowledge of cultural and contemporary history and a keen observation of everyday life. He constantly picked up on topical issues from society, politics and (pop) culture and consistently reflected on themes and traditions in the visual arts. The diversity of his work, the axiomatic, seemingly arbitrary, unconventional and humorous playing with forms and contents place him in a Dadaist tradition – one need only think of Kurt Schwitters with his Ursonate and his parodic treatment of language.

«And I’m working to ensure that people can say: Kippenberger was in a good mood!» Autor

Kippenberger’s artistic gestures only ostensibly reflect a careless dilettantism, which he used in a well thought out and strategic manner. His work is characterised by exuberant creativity, great empathy and diversity with regard to content and form.

He was a master of sounding out and piecing together and combined, for example, banal motifs such as an egg with philosophical references – irritations, provocations, curiosity and passion characterise his work. His intuitive intelligence open up many, at times controversial possibilities of interpretation: It demands that the work be examined as a whole, as a network.

In his changing roles, Kippenberger created and transformed himself as an artist and questioned concepts of identification and authorship. He thus, for example, commissioned a poster painter to create a series of works titled Lieber Maler, male mir (Dear Painter, Paint for Me), which was unusual and by all means outside the norm.

He makes pointed use of language and thus intensifies the narrative components of his works. His titles generally provide the key to the themes, and the exhibition thus quotes the title of one of his works, perfectly illustrating Martin Kippenberger’s attitude of a permanent give and take, of input and output.

The exhibition itself reflects his extraordinary productivity, presenting works from all creative periods and most media, and thus opens the reception and discussion for the present times.

Kippenbergers künstlerische Gesten spiegeln nur auf den ersten Blick einen unbekümmerten Dilettantismus, den er jedoch wohl durchdacht und strategisch eingesetzt hat. Sein Werk ist geprägt von überbordender Kreativität, großer Empathie sowie inhaltlicher und formaler Diversität.

Er war ein Meister des Auslotens und Zusammenfügens und kombinierte z.B. banale Motive wie ein Ei mit philosophischen Verweisen – Irritationen, Provokation, Neugier und Leidenschaft prägen sein Werk. Seine intuitive Intelligenz eröffnet viele und manchmal kontroverse Interpretationsmöglichkeiten: Sie fordert, sein Werk als ein Ganzes, als ein Netzwerk wahrzunehmen.

In seinen wechselnden Rollen erschuf und veränderte sich Kippenberger als Künstler und hinterfragte Identifikationen und Autorschaft. So beauftragte er zum Beispiel einen Plakatmaler eine Werkserie mit dem Titel Lieber Maler, male mir anzufertigen, was ungewöhnlich und außerhalb jeder Norm war.

Pointiert setzt er Sprache ein und intensiviert damit die narrativen Komponenten seiner Werke. Seine Titel liefern meistens den Schlüssel zu den Themen, so zitiert auch die Ausstellung den Titel eines seiner Werke und bildet Martin Kippenbergers Haltung des permanenten Gebens und Nehmens, des Input und Output vortrefflich ab. 

Die Ausstellung selbst spiegelt seine außergewöhnliche Produktivität, präsentiert Werke aus allen Schaffensperioden und den meisten Medien und öffnet so die Rezeption und Diskussion für die heutige Zeit.

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Admission tickets

€10/ €6.50 (concessions)

School groups enjoy free admission to the exhibition on Fridays (booking necessary)
Happy-Hour-Ticket: 7 € (available two hours before the museum closes; individual visitors only, all exhibitions.) Combined ticket for all exhibitions available. <link en visiting opening-timesadmission.html internal link in current>More information


Visitors may take photographs in this exhibition. Share them on social media and use the official hashtags.

Literatur zur Ausstellung in der Bibliothek