This artwork’s title reveals Sigmar Polke’s unique sense of humor. Dr Pabscht het z’Schpiez s’Schpäckbschteck z’schpät bschteut is a tongue twister in Swiss-German, translating to The Pope Ordered the Bacon Cutlery in Spiez Too Late. Consequently, the canvas depicts a silverware case with two crossed spoons. Although stemming from a 19th Century mail order catalogue, Polke appropriated the imagery from the surrealist Max Ernst, who had used it in several collages before.
Known for his inventiveness, curiosity and wit, Sigmar Polke has often been called “the alchemist”. Experimenting with a wide range of mediums and materials, he created a very diverse oeuvre that has influenced a whole generation of artists. Whilst his studio turned more and more into a laboratory, Polke innovated techniques in painting and photography by manipulating chemical processes. Life in post-war Germany, led Sigmar Polke to establish Capitalist Realism together with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg in the 1960s. This parody of the American Pop Art movement aimed at exploring consumerism and German postwar bourgeoisie, using the imagery of popular culture and advertising.