Splatter Analysis


Sigmar Polke ( German, 1941 - 2010 )

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General Description

In Splatter Analysis Sigmar Polke creates a seemingly simple image within a square that relates to complex ideas about how we see the world around us both literally and metaphorically. First off, of course, is how we "see" (or feel about) guns, certainly a hot button issue, and one that has defined the lore of the West and of Texas (Polke took all of the images of guns from Texas newspapers). Second is the implied narrative of a man having shot at a target: the man took aim, focused his eyes, and then pulled the trigger, thereby partially destroying his target, and leaving the empty center or a hole in the surface of the target itself. If one inspects the bullet holes in the painting, they turn out to be oddly formed voids where matter has been displaced. In short, they are the negative to the positive dot from which newspaper images are created in the process Polke has so meticulously created by hand. Polke suggests a host of metaphorical possibilities: the potential violence of looking, the nearly alchemical process of vision and imagemaking, and the persistence of our need to assess what we see and master it.

Adapted from

Charles Wylie, DMA unpublished material, 2003.