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Nous n'avons pas de problème avec la guerre, car la guerre vient à la fin (We Have No Problems with War, because War Comes at the End)

Nous n'avons pas de problème avec la guerre, car la guerre vient à la fin (We Have No Problems with War, because War Comes at the End)
oil, enamel spray paint, acrylic and graphite on canvas
70 7/8 x 58 7/8 in. (180 x 150 cm.)
Executed in 1986
Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne.
Galerie Sylvana Lorenz, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1990.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Alexandra Werner
Alexandra Werner

Lot Essay

‘The capacity to camouflage, to make light of, to exaggerate, all of these are impulses directed toward keeping humanity alive, along with oneself and confrontation. What works with language works just as well with images. To conceal, to disclose, to whitewash, to direct onto false trails.’
–Martin Kippenberger

‘Anything he encountered, experienced, or observed, whether people, ideas, or images, could elicit a work. No subject was sacred, and Kippenberger drew equally from popular culture, art, architecture, music, politics, history, and his own life and work as sources, styles and subjects. Kippenberger embraced failure as a generative strategy’
–Ann Goldstein

Loud and explosive, Martin Kippenberger’s 1986 painting, Nous n’avons pas de problème avec la guerre, car la guerre vient à la fin (We Have No Problems with War, because War Comes at the End) delves the viewer into a cacophony of shapes, text and colour. This work is one of Kippenberger’s notable No Problem Pictures, a politically charged and provocative series characterised by an overarching anti-bourgeois, tongue-in-cheek attitude. A continuation of his earlier Is Not Embarrassing works of 1984, the No Problem series provide insight into Kippenberger’s confrontational drive: they frequently allude to Germany’s uncomfortable past, rather than shy away from it, seeking instead to push the boundaries of the acceptable and ‘[explore] the creative potential of shame and failure’ (The Tate, http:// kippenberger-the-no-problem-pictures-p79106 [accessed 6th December 2017]). The title of this particular work, humorous in its paradoxical absurdity, is incorporated into the painting itself: elongated around the edges of the canvas to create an inbuilt frame, the text is arranged in capitalised block letters reminiscent of war-time propaganda posters. As if to further exemplify his penchant for parody, large, angular forms burst out from the canvas, evoking (or perhaps lampooning) the Italian Futurists’ great exaltation of violence. Echoes of their 1909 founding manifesto, which famously called for the ‘[glorification] of war – the world’s only hygiene’ and proclaimed that ‘No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece’, seem to resonate in Kippenberger’s bold and vibrant work (F. T. Marinetti, ‘Futurist Manifesto’, the-futurist-manifesto-f-t-marinetti. html#.WifXdtJl_cs [accessed 6th December 2017]). Jutta Koether astutely describes ‘the humour, the social critique, the clever combination of provocative images and allusions,’ which culminate in Kippenberger’s ‘critical and politicised [work,] perfectly expressing his ideas and his personality’ (J. Koether quoted in Tate Etc., no. 6, Spring 2000, p. 36).
In this work, the abstract composition is comically juxtaposed by the incongruous inclusion of a small, red object situated at the upper right hand corner of the canvas. Delineated in crude, red brushstrokes, the image has an air of ambiguity, simultaneously suggesting both a teapot and a urinal. Such toilet humour seems to poke fun at the comfortable domesticity of bourgeois life that Kippenberger found so mundane. At the centre of the enfants terribles, working alongside other ‘bad boy’ artists such as Albert Oehlen, Georg Herold and Günther Förg, Kippenberger’s prolific oeuvre, as humorous as it is poignant, provides a pivotal commentary on his contemporary society – and its punk counterculture – in the ’80s. He was, as Kristine McKenna notes, ‘A social critic who [transformed] the trash of a corrupted culture into ironic commentary on the personality crisis of the human race’ (K. McKenna, ‘Some Disappointing Pop Pranks’, Los Angeles Review, 1991).

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