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Robert Indiana: "Imperial Love", 1966/2006, Corten steel, 244 x 488 x 152 cm, Hamburger Bahnhof: Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.
Robert Indiana, Born in 1928, is considered one of the foremost exponents of US Pop Art. "Imperial Love" was designed in 1966 and finally took shape as a sculpture in 2006. Indiana effectively doubles up his most famous visual creation, a square-shaped logo arranged from the letters L and O over a V and an E, to form a horizontal diptych. The "one-word poem", as the artist describes his creation, thus became a picture puzzle that functions as a simultaneously abstract and graphic statement and a multilayered signifier. The concise typographical form of LOVE was first created in 1964. Adopting design principles used in advertising, Indiana graphically reduced the visual motif down to its bare essentials. However, it was only with the creation of the "Imperial Love" sculpture that the full potential of this mirrored "word picture" emerged: viewers are able to walk around the work, which can be read from its reverse side. Indiana's LOVE captured the euphoric spirit of the mid-1960s. The work's motif brings together aspects of art, consumer culture, religion, politics, and sexuality, which Indiana then transformed into a world-famous logo. The motif re-appeared in various permutations in art and popular culture. Robert Indiana's LOVE became one of the most famous works in art history and an integral part of our collective visual memory.
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