PHOTO-REPORT: POP ART ARTIST JAMES ROSENQUIST AT MUSEUM LUDWIG, COLOGNE

This exhibition also is about the genesis of the paintings – showing the collages, cut from magazines, such as the american LIFE-Magazin, and drafts James Rosenquist created before taking his work to the final dimension.

But surely, Cologne Museum Ludwig, also and mostly presents the oversize work of the American pop art artist. Large oil paintings with an instant impact on the viewer – sometimes capturing the whole room.

The most recent, is the first exhibition after Rosenquist’s death in March 2017. And also an opportunity to discover how he worked. In times when photoshop or computer treatments weren’t an option. “Decades ago, Rosenquist did things, recent artists think they have discovered,” says transatlantic diablog art expert Rolf Göllnitz.

All that, coming from an advertising background. “I painted billboards above every candy store in Brooklyn. I got so I could paint a Schenley whiskey bottle in my sleep,” Rosenquist wrote in his 2009 autobiography, “Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life in Art.”

At Museum Ludwig, one can also discover the origins of his colorful work: People can spot the famous and large portrait of former US president John F. Kennedy in a print magazine from the middle of the last century. An advertisement for hair pomade leads to another painting of a man’s occiput stroke by woman’s hands.

And even though his inspiration dates back to a certain period of time, Rosenquists work is timeless. Not only his style, but also the topics. Such as criticizing the US budget for military investments – combined with the ever present spaghetti and hairdryers (check his 1964/65 image “F-111”).

A fact that Rosenquist acknowledged himself:

Collage is still a very contemporary medium, whether it is done with little bits of paper or in the cinema,” he said.

Another plus: His collages make the viewer rest a while. And so the recent exhibition also is about the details. With a very fitting title: “Eintauchen ins Bild” (“Diving into the picture“) is the german headline Museum Ludwig chose.

Finding images was highly influenced by his interest in social and political events of his time,” the accompanying programm to the exhibition says.

“Eintauchen ins Bild” at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, runs until March 4, 2018. Afterwards it moves to ARoS – the Aarhus artmuseum in Denmark.

(reported by Lars Göllnitz)

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