Martin Kippenberger: The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s Amerika
Published by Walther König, Köln.
Text by Gisela Capitain, Lisa Franzen, Peter Gorschlüter, Rembert Hüser, Sarah Khan.
A detailed documentation of Kippenberger’s epic masterpiece
Widely considered Martin Kippenberger’s (1953–97) masterpiece, The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s "Amerika" explores a utopia of universal employment, based on a section from Kafka’s titular novel in which the protagonist, Karl Rossmann, applies for a job at the “biggest theater in the world”: “whoever wants to become an artist should sign up!” Kippenberger’s installation, set out on a stylized football pitch, is made up of 50 table-and-chair ensembles. Alongside classic design icons and found objects, it also includes furniture especially produced by Kippenberger, as well as pieces by numerous artist friends, including Cosima von Bonin, Tony Oursler, Ulrich Strothjohann and Jason Rhodes. This publication examines the work, and includes, for the first time, “biographies” of the individual objects, tracing the contexts of their creation, collection and integration into the installation. This volume therefore constitutes the definitive documentation of The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s "Amerika".