Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) was a German artist who, during various phases of his life, focused on photography and painting and played an important role in the development of modern art.
Knowned for his openness of mind, Sigmar Polke found inspiration in many diverse styles to create his own abstract art, often relying on coincidental reactions between the materials he used. Polke, who studied at the Dusseldorf Arts Academy, was heavily influenced by his teacher Joseph Beuys. In the 1960s, he founded the Capitalist realism painting movement together with artists Gerhard Richter and Konrad Fischer. Their anti-style of art was a statement on western capitalism. In the 1970s, Polke took up photography, experminenting both with process techniques and with taking photos under the influence of drugs. The themes of his late paintings were often historical events, as well as the way in which they were viewed by the public. He also developed a new technique known as machine painting, in which artworks were produced entirely mechanically. Visitors to the Reichstag in Berlin can view one of Polke's installations. For the building's reopening in 1999, he was commissioned to create a series of three-dimensional light boxes.