Martin Kippenberger was undoubtedly one of the most versatile and prolific post-war German artists. Exuberantly energetic, he has produced an enormous oeuvre, ranging from painting, prints and sculpture to installations and happenings since the 1970. He was also engaged in the organization of exhibitions and the publication of books, involving him in almost all aspects of art. His chief concern was questioning society and the art scene while trying to find the possibilities left for contemprary art to discover. In provokingly banale or taunting pictorial inventions, nonsense texts and with deliberate amateurishness, he attacked the art industry.
He was never squeamish about overstepping the "boundaries of good taste". Martin Kippenberger grew up in a cultured, art-loving family. In 1972 Kippenberger began to study free painting at the Hamburg art academy. He created his first large-scale art project in 1976 during a one-year stay in Florence, which was followed by a catalogue in 1977.
In 1978 Kippenberger moved to Berlin, where he founded "Kippenbergers Büro" together with Gisela Capitain and managed "Club SO 36". He organized exhibitions and concerts, bought first works of contemporary artists and met Max Hetzler, who later became his agent.
In the 1980s Kippenberger produced many of his own art projects and had his first large-scale exhibition entitled "Miete Strom Gas" ("Rent Electricity Gas"] at a museum in Darmstadt in 1986. He also collaborated with Albert Oehlen, Werner Büttner and Georg Herold on joint projects.
In 1990 Kippenberger was a visiting professor at the "Städelschule" Frankfurt and taught at the "Gesamthochschule" Kassel in 1992. A large-scale, long-term project that would keep him busy until he died was the realization of a world-wide underground railway, for which he designed and built an entrance in Syros, Greece, in 1993, another one in Dawson City, Canada, in 1995 and a third at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1997.
Posthumously a ventilation shaft executed according to his plans was added in Münster and a portable entrance featured at "documenta X" in Kassel.
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