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Postscript to "Kippenberger's Quixote": The Missing Piece


About a week after my most recent post, something extraordinary happened. Regina Fiorito, a representative of the Estate of Martin Kippenberger (represented by the Galerie Gisela Capitain in Cologne) contacted the Library about it. "We would like to be in touch with Kathie Coblentz from the Spencer Collection, we read her blog today about a Kippenberger book. We (The Estate of Martin Kippenberger) were thrilled and have a missing piece of information for her." 

A second message soon followed: "Reading that you are missing the drawing for the pedestal we would like to let you know that we can provide you with this so that the book is complete. The design for the pedestal is very beautiful and adds another dimension to the whole project, the book rests on top of the pedestal in a recess and is covered with a glass plate. Thus it becomes again something else ..."

My original post had mentioned the sad absence of this design in our copy: "There should also be a folded sheet with the artist's design for a 'book object pedestal,' which the ideal purchaser of the Quixote would construct for the display of the masterpiece. Here we could meander off into the realm of conceptual art, but since this design is unfortunately lacking in the Spencer copy (it does contain a snapshot of the finished structure), we'll pass over that."

Needless to say, I was overjoyed by this news. And before we knew it, the design had arrived at the Spencer Collection, Fedexed overnight from Cologne. It is indeed very beautiful. The original was drawn with pen and ink on light blue finely ruled paper, and it has been reproduced in color, complete with the artist's signature.

 The design drawingKippenberger's Quixote: The design drawing

The instructions call for building the pedestal from sheets of 16 mm (5/8") particleboard, assembled with glue and screws. The base would be a meter tall (39") and the top 35.2 cm. (just under 14") square. A recess would be constructed in the top in which the cork volume would fit snugly, and the whole would be painted glossy white. Finally, a pane of clear glass would be laid on top. You can glimpse the finished work in one of the snapshots in the Library's copy of the Quixote.

Snapshot showing the finished pedestal (detail)Snapshot showing the finished pedestal (detail)

If you are lucky enough to own a copy of the Kippenberger Quixote, you don't, of course, actually have to hasten to your local Home Depot, purchase the materials, and construct the pedestal. According to the tradition of conceptual art, it is enough that the design is there. Through its presence, the work becomes "again something else." And now the Spencer Collection copy, too, can be considered complete, and we can say with Lisa Franzen of the Kippenberger Estate, "We are happy that the diagram arrived and finally 'found his book'!"

Lisa Franzen adds that it was Susanne Kippenberger, the artist's younger sister, who had discovered my blog post when she was doing some research in our database. Susanne Kippenberger, as I discovered when I was working on the post, is the author of a deeply felt memoir of her brother, titled Kippenberger: der Künstler und seine Familien. It's recommended to German-speaking fans of this singular artist.


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