03.10.2008 to 11.01.2009
Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
Warhol immortalized stars through his art. To produce his famous portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley or Mao, the artist often turned to existing photographic material from the press and the world of advertising and consolidated these pictures he had come across into works of enormous iconic presence. These works have in their turn since slipped back into the world of the media from which they were first fashioned and even today are still being reproduced again and again in the most widely differing of contexts.
Based on a few exemplary key works from the Sammlung Marx, the exhibition demonstrates the extent to which Warhol's art owes its timeless effect to a singular blend of construction and deconstruction: Warhol inflates the image of the star, displaying single motifs as well as repetitions of the unvarying image. The result being that he creates pictures which attest to having cult status and which at once exude the aura of the unique and the serially produced in equal measure. For, as well as elevating certain pop icons, Warhol also multiplies their impact on the viewer in the manner of a popular consumer brand, even going as far as to include himself in the process: Andy Warhol the brand is itself an essential component of this image-making machinery. Through his popular images of the stars, the artist himself has long since become an adored star, the epitome of a self-made, yet at once glamorous image culture with broad mass appeal.