Sigmar Polke’s graphic print, Hannibal with his Armoured Elephants, is a notable work that reflects the artist’s experimentation with different mediums. Polke was a German artist who worked across various artistic disciplines such as photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and film.
Hannibal presents an anti-monumental visual language and off-hand wit that defies easy interpretation. The use of offset lithography in this art edition challenges traditional notions of unique artistic craftsmanship and creates accessible artwork for its audience. Such printmaking processes are characterized by their reproducibility and affordability as opposed to limited or original editions.
Polke’s views on consumer society and the memory of the Nazi era influenced his art-making process. By blending high-art practice with mass culture motifs, he questioned the social implications of capitalism while playing with personal iconography related to psychedelic experiences involving hallucinogenic drugs. Overall, Hannibal with his Armoured Elephants typifies Polke’s conceptual concerns regarding Western cultural heritage.