Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Sigmar Polke (German, 1941–2010)

Ashes to Ashes, 1992

Oil and ink on printed fabrics and velour

94 1/2 x 157 3/4 in. (240 x 400.7 cm)

Gerald S. Elliott Collection

Sigmar Polke, one of the leading artists in 1960s Germany, found the ideas of pop art to be liberating and radical. He often plucked advertising imagery from its original context to make wry and funny commentary. In later works such as this, Polke used commercially produced fabrics instead of plain canvas to further complicate his paintings. Here, the combination of printed skulls, poured paint, and three different fabrics challenges a straightforward interpretation.