Raymond Pettibon

Since the 1970s, the American artist Raymond Pettibon has consistently developed his own unique artistic language. His output consists mainly of works on paper, created primarily with black ink, complemented by colour gouaches and acrylic paints. He also employs collage techniques. His pieces are based on impressive, non-obvious combinations of images and fragments of texts, removed from their original context, frequently borrowed from literature, philosophy and poetry. His grim, ironic/depressive drawings feature the same constantly recurring motifs and characteristic figures: protagonists of cartoons, films and comic strips, politicians, surfers, baseball players, presidents of the United States, protesting activists, members of cults and terrorist organizations, neo-Nazis. Pettibon is a tireless critical commentator on America’s history and current socio-political situation. The selection of his works shown in the exhibition embrace anti-war, anti-fascist and anti-racist drawings from the 1980s and 1990s as well as more recent pieces analysing the violent, divided and hate-ridden reality of the United States in the era of Bush, Obama, the war in Iraq, and economic crisis.

Raymond Pettibon’s Warsaw museum commission, Untitled (A New Law), is a version of an iconic political cartoon by David Low. It depicts the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the agreement between Hitler and Stalin to divide Europe in the spoils of war.

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1952 in Tucson) – American illustrator and draughtsman currently living in New York. He gained renown at the turn of the 1980s as a designer of album covers as well as flyers and posters for bands on the punk scene of Southern California. Pettibon was quick to reach cult status in the world of independent culture with his designs of, for instance, the Black Flag band logo and the cover of Sonic Youth’s album Goo, which propelled the development of his international artistic career. His work is inspired by William Blake and Francisco Goya, and equally by press political caricature. He combines references to popular culture with quotes from literature, poetry and philosophy as well as disillusioned observation of reality with his trademark irony and humour.

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