Elena Geuna and Guy Tosatto specifically designed the show for the Palazzo in close collaboration with The Estate of Sigmar Polke. It featured nearly 90 works from the Pinault Collection as well as from major European public and private collections across the entire Palazzo. The event aimed to span Polke's whole, prolific career starting backwards from the late 2000s to the early 1960s as well as the diversity of media he tried (painting, drawing, installation, film, etc.), evoking his project for a total work of art that was the German pavilion at the 1986 Biennial. It focused on his experimental, multifaceted art’s political and alchemical dimensions. The latter was seen in the masterpiece Axial Age, which opened the show: a monumental group of seven paintings created for the 2007 Biennale and exhibited for the first time in the atrium of the Palazzo Grassi.
The retrospective not only celebrated Polke's attachment to Venice, but also continued the programme of solo shows on major contemporary artists that began at the Palazzo Grassi in 2012 with Urs Fischer, Rudolf Stingel and Martial Raysse.