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Martin Kippenberger

The Happy End of Kafka's Amerika
September 10 – October 29, 2000

Martin Kippenberger
Installation View,
The Renaissance Society, 1994
Installation View
At the time of his death in 1997, Martin Kippenberger was the leading German artist of his generation. The Happy End of Kafka's Amerika, is Kippenberger's last work. Unlike a previous generation of artists who, under influence of Joseph Bueys, viewed the artist as a shamanistic savior of sorts, Kippenberger's generation viewed the artist as a symptom of the cyclic regression from capitalism to fascism and back again. With respect to the role of the artist as the guardian of utopian or transcendental longings, Kippenberger was neither a pessimist nor an optimist but an existentialist in the truest sense. For him, individuals are free agents in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe. The fact that there are winners and losers in the game of life was not nearly as important as the game itself. The Happy End portrays human relationships, social interactions and power dynamics through various styles and configurations of tables, chairs and bleachers arranged on an Astroturf soccer field.


The Renaissance Society
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