Mark Godfrey interviews Peter Doig about the work of Sigmar Polke on the occasion of the exhibition Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010, on view at Tate Modern through February 8, 2015.
Doig comments that he felt "connected to Polke because of his use of popular imagery in a kind of witty irreverent way, and that he was prepared to use all types of visual language in his own work... He seemed to use an abstract element to create real atmosphere and mood in his paintings, not just to make comments on abstract paintings. It didn’t seem to be about the language of painting that existed. It was more about what he could invent at that point in time for a particular work or body of work." Doig continues: "I can’t think of any other painter who’s experimented on materials as much as he has, and I felt that, in a way, he created a no-go area because he did it so well. There have been a few other artists over the years that have used material in a somewhat similar way, but their work always seems quite decorative, whereas with Sigmar’s work it was integral to the way he works and the way he thinks. You do believe that he is a magician or a conjurer or alchemist."