Oels,Silesia 1941- 2010 Cologne
In 1963, Polke coined the term 'Capitalistic Realism', together with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg. Polke's paintings of the 1960s show ordinary mass products on substrates such as wallpaper or fabric. For inspiration, he drew on decorations and advertising of that time. From 1963 on, Polke used dot matrices. In his works, he criticized consumerism and politics, but always humorously. As of the 1980s, he worked with the most diverse techniques and materials in his abstract paintings, for instance with photochemical substances or ones that were sensitive to heat and moisture, but also with poisonous substances. Polke was awarded numerous honours, including the Golden Lion at the XLII Biennale di Venezia, the Carnegie Award at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, the Kaiserring of Goslar, and the Praemium Imperiale of the Japan Art Association, Tokyo. Comprehensive retrospectives of his works were held in 2001 in Humlebaek, Oslo and Cologne, as well as in 2007 at the Museum Moderner Kunst (MUMOK) in Vienna, and in 2014/2015 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London and at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.