Sigmar Polke

Axial Age

Axial Age is the title of a series of seven paintings completed by Sigmar Polke between 2005 and 2007. With his camera, Polke created a fascinating photo documentary of the painting process, including 187 images specially selected by the artist to be featured in this large-format book.

By revealing the materiality and structural complexity of the works from a variety of perspectives and under different lighting conditions, Polke provides the reader with analogies to his oeuvre that are as explicit as they are unique.

Polke makes use of a broad range of materials in his work, including varnishes and pigments, photographic chemicals, gold and silver, lapis lazuli and malachite – all references to alchemistic processes of transformation.

Axial Age is a reference to the term coined by Karl Jaspers to describe the period between 800 BC and 200 BC, during which the world was reinvented based on the principle of transcendence – a principle that finds full expression in this series of paintings.

English and German text.

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