Telepathic Session I-II



Sigmar Polke explored telepathy, psychoactive substances and visions, ESP, occult and phantasmagoria for over thirty years. He created a number of artworks that manifested a telepathic engagement with earlier artists who shared a deep engagement with the uncanny and the occult, such as Francisco Goya and William Blake.

“In 1968, the year of protests across Europe and the United States, Polke designed ways of communicating with dead artists. Both Telepathic Session I (Max Klinger–Sigmar Polke) (Telepathische Sitzung I [Max Klinger–Sigmar Polke]) and Telepathic Session II (William Blake–Sigmar Polke) (Telepathische Sitzung II [William Blake– Sigmar Polke]) consist of two canvases of the same size labeled Sender (sender) and Empfänger (receiver) and covered with black grids in which the words ja (yes) and nein (no) appear in some of the squares. They are reminiscent of the forms used in the 1960s for recording the results of ESP tests.”

As well as referencing the telepathy of ESP tests, Polke also references the telepathy of table tapping, telekinesis, ectoplasm, levitation, magic, magic mushrooms, fairies in his painting, and the suggestion of the telepathic umbilical cord, affective contagion and unifying rhythm of crowds in his work Human Snake 1972-74/76. Polke’s work with the subject of crowd energy and animation reflects his interest and involvement in radical politics.