Andy Warhol Werbegrafik Wayne Thiebaud Stilleben

Konsumgut in der Kunstwelt als Druckversion (PDF mit Abb. u. Fn. 2.019 KB)

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Das Konsumgut in der Kunstwelt – Zur Para-Ökonomie der amerikanischen Pop Art

in: Shopping. 100 Jahre Kunst und Konsum, hrsg. von Max Hollein und Christoph Grunenberg, Katalog Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt/M., Ostfildern-Ruit 2002, S. 148-153.

Abschnitt IV

Notwendigerweise unverhängt aber war die Schaufensterfront eines New Yorker Kaufhauses, wo Warhol 1961 seine erste „Kunstausstellung“ inszenierte – die gleichwohl gänzlich unbeachtet blieb. Hier präsentierte er fünf der ersten Arbeiten, die nach seinem Entschluss, seine erfolgreiche Laufbahn als Werbegrafiker und Dekorateur aufzugeben und Künstler zu werden, entstanden waren. Sie basierten auf Werbeanzeigen und Comicstrips und gaben nun, da keine Galerie sie zeigen wollte, den Hintergrund für Kleiderpuppen ab. Es war eine Übergangssituation in mehrfacher Hinsicht. Die Kunstausstellung im Schaufenster markierte genau die Schnittstelle zwischen Warhols beiden „Leben“ als kommerzieller Gestalter und freiem Künstler, den prekären Zwischenhalt auf dem Weg vom Kaufhaus in die Galerie. Die Bilder standen nicht nur hinter Puppen, welche die neusten „Kostümierungen“ präsentierten, sondern kreisten selbst um das Thema der Metamorphose. In zweien waren Anzeigen abgemalt, die, neben Pepsi-Cola, vor allem unterschiedliche Maßnahmen zur Körperverschönerung wie Nasenkorrektur, Haarefärben und Muskelaufbau anpriesen. Die drei übrigen zeigten Ausschnitte aus Comicgeschichten über Superman, Popeye und Little King, also Fantasiefiguren, von denen jede das Potenzial besaß, von einer alltäglichen und spießbürgerlichen zu einer idealen, kraftstrotzenden Natur aufzusteigen.Während Warhols Erfolg als Werbegrafiker auf einem betont intimen und handwerklichen Zeichenstil beruhte, fand er seine künstlerische Handschrift umgekehrt und durchaus paradox in einem scheinbar unpersönlichen Konzept. Es führte ihn zur Bildsprache der serialisierten, reproduktiven Siebdruckbilder. Hier testete Warhol die Spannung zwischen Singulärem und Massenhaftem, Wiederholung und Differenz. Die Motive, die ihn interessierten, waren Dinge, die „niemand“ gemacht hatte und die dennoch „Individualität“ besaßen, die „einmalig“ waren, obschon sie massenweise existierten: die wegen ihres über Jahrzehnte unverändert belassenen Etikettendesigns klassischen Suppendosen der Firma Campbell’s oder die auffälligen Verpackungskartons für Brillo-Scheuerkissen. Warhols erste Maßnahme, mit solchen Phänomenen bildnerisch umzugehen, war die Eliminierung alles Handschriftlichen, das die ersten Bilder ja durchaus noch aufwiesen. Es wich einer Produktionsweise, die sich derjenigen der Dinge so weit anglich, bis sich das Bedrucken eines Verpackungskartons vom Bedrucken von Warhols Nachbau nur noch dadurch unterschied, dass Ersteres von einer Maschine vorgenommen wurde, bei letzterem Warhol selbst die „Maschine“ war. Nicht nur das Objekt besaß sozusagen eine reproduktive und serielle Identität, Warhols Bilder und Skulpturen zogen mit ihnen gleich.
Wie essenziell diese Parallelität von Thematik und Produktionsform war, zeigt sich, wenn man Warhol zum Beispiel mit Wayne Thiebaud vergleicht. Thiebaud, der „Malerei für wichtiger als Kunst“ hielt, versuchte in seinen Bildern wie dem Cake Counter von 1963 eine große Malereitradition im Lichte zeitgenössischer ästhetischer Phänomene fortzuführen – und handelte sich so den Spitznamen „Chardin der Kuchenläden“ ein. Ihn aufgrund der Motivwahl der Pop Art zuzuschlagen, würde weder dieser noch Thiebaud gerecht, dessen Bilder dann als deren malerische, in ihrer Handwerklichkeit aber zwangsläufig rückwärts gewandte Variante erscheinen müssten. Bis in den einzelnen Pinselstrich hinein zeigt sich Thiebauds Verehrung für Morandi – bei dem aufgrund der Tatsache, dass er banale Flaschen malte, auch niemand von Pop (oder Proto-Pop) sprechen möchte. Wie Morandi erzeugte Thiebaud eine Atmosphäre kontemplativer Ruhe, die der Dinge „stilles Leben“ einzufangen suchte, während die pastose, die Dinge ummalende Pinselführung dazu diente, sowohl die Materialität der Dinge wie ihr „geschwisterliches“ Beisammensein zu evozieren. Der Gegensatz zu Warhols Diptychon Campbell’s Soup Cans (Chicken with Rice, Bean with Bacon) von 1962 könnte nicht entschiedener sein, nicht nur wegen des hier fehlenden Malerischen, sondern auch in kompositorischer Hinsicht. Die beiden Dosen, je eine auf jeder Tafel, schwebten ohne jede atmosphärische Einbettung auf dem weißen Bildgrund. Sogar die reduzierteste Ortsangabe, auf die kein Stillleben verzichtet, war weggelassen: die horizontale Linie, die je nach Bild eine Tisch- oder eine Raumkante meint. Indem jeder situative Zusammenhang fehlte, blieb auch offen, warum die rechte Dose so viel kleiner war als die linke. Ort- und zeitlos, ohne Bezug zur Bildfläche und zum Betrachter und ohne eine bestimmbare Aussage zu machen, verharrten die zugleich banalen und epiphanischen Dosen im Nichts.
Die Ambivalenz zwischen Singularität und Massenreproduktion, nach der Warhol suchte, ließ bis heute den Streit unentschieden, ob sein Blick auf die neue Dingwelt subversiv oder affirmativ, pessimistisch oder optimistisch ausfiel. Die Frage dürfte deshalb unbeantwortbar sein, weil Warhol auf „skandalöse“ Weise zwischen freier Wahl und Notwendigkeit, Subjektivität und Standardisierung keinen Unterschied zu empfinden schien. „Ich denke gerade andersherum“, sagte Warhol. „Ich will nicht, dass es in der Essenz dasselbe ist – ich will, dass es exakt dasselbe ist.“ Die Campbell’s-Dosen und die Brillo-Boxen kündeten davon, dass es Warhol gerade so mochte, wie es bereits schon war, und es genau so machen wollte, wie es schon gemacht worden war. Das war Warhols ätzende Probe auf die Subjektivität und zugleich das, worin er auf so provozierende Weise „amerikanisch“ war.

Abschnitt I
Abschnitt II
Abschnitt III
Punkt Konsumgut in der Kunstwelt Abschnitt IV
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Konsumgut in der Kunstwelt als Druckversion (PDF mit Abb. u. Fn. 2.019 KB)

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