Théodore Géricault’s 1819 masterpiece, The Raft of the Medusa, serves as the starting point for this series of the same name by Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997), the artist provocateur and leading light of Germany's art scene during the 1980s and ’90s. Kippenberger's output could be described as a wry deconstruction of the idea of artistic genius, as well as an expression of rueful nostalgia for the days when such a notion was taken seriously. The works here, which consist of drawings as well as paintings, form an extended self-portrait, wherein Kippenberger assumes some of the poses of the figures in Géricault’s painting, a dramatic encapsulation of the moment shipwreck survivors are rescued at sea. A heavy drinker, Kippenberger created his series the year before he died of liver cancer, and in it, you can divine the explosive mix of gigantic ego and sense of the absurd that propelled his art.
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