Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gerhard Richter

One of my favourite contemporary artists is Gerhard Richter (his retrospective book Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting of a few years ago is one I leaf through often).

Of course for photographers, one of the intriguing things about Richter is his use of photography in his painting - though that's not the only thing that appeals to me about his work by any means. (Although the first of his paintings which really grabbed me were the very photographic Baader-Meinhof series - which may also in part have been down to personal history with the Red Army Faction and Rote Zora as much as to do with their "photographic" nature...).

Anyway, I happened to come across what appears to be the "official" Gerhard Richter website the other day.

It's absolutely chock full of stuff if you hunt around. One particular interesting thing is that you can click on what he calls his "Atlas". This is all the photographs he takes day by day, year by year, along with cut outs from magazines, maps, notes etc - some of which finds itself as a basis for his later work. And if this is the case, then the work is linked to the Atlas page

I also just saw there is a book based on this Gerhard Richter: Atlas.

"The Atlas is Gerhard Richter's ongoing encyclopedic work. It is comprised of approximately 4,000 images, reproductions or cut-out details of photographs and illustrations, grouped together on over 600 separate panels.

The images closely parallel, year by year, the subjects of Gerhard Richter's paintings. The search display will show you images of the paintings sourced from the particular Atlas sheet selected (if there are any).

This comprehensive collection of images provides insight into the different paths and ideas that the artist has researched, spanning his process from sketch to the production of the final work. The photographs explore the way in which we see everyday items and the world around us. Select topics include personal and public issues, as well as classic themes—landscapes, still-lifes, portraits, politics, and nature."


Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've posted to your blog. I've been enjoying it for a while now though. I think it's funny that you just posted something on Richter, I posted something about his newest work on my blog yesterday. Let me know what you think.

Luis said...

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity of seeing a Richter retrospective at the Art Institute in Chicago with my friend Alan Zinn.

Mr. Richter gleefully subverts and acknowledges tradition and specially photographic programs. The work can teach us volumes about photography and painting by the interplay of the two.

He maintains a precarious, yet brilliantly elegant, loose-tightrope-walker's pendulous balance between intellect and passion, without much restraint for either.

For me, the Richter exhibit was more of a revelation, the kind where one approaches a great truth, like a large animal in a dense forest, and are allowed a blinding momentary glimpse of it, something much too bewildering to absorb on the spot, something that plants itself in one's subconscious, germinates and flowers at unexpected times.

Richter once again proves that the obvious*, to which most of us are totally desensitized and (mis)spend our lives sleepwalking through, is the last thing we see.

--- Luis

* ...and I do not mean this in the same sense as Eggleston's "obvious" with which he is at war, but very much in the unbelievable abilities he has to sensitize himself to his everyday surrounding, much like Atget.

Fred said...

I am Flemish, 51 years old and a painter.

I have had my figurative, my abstract period and now I am into something Gerhard Richterian minimalistic fragmentary stuff based on photo's, pics in magazines, postcards and so forth...painted.

Me too I like a lot Richter after having being an admirer of van Gogh, Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Morandi, Kirkeby, de Kooning, Rothko.

I would like to know which painter(s)has (have) painted in a similar way, iow inspired by fragments of daily life. For me this is a bit Zen.

Flemish painters that I know that are influenced by Richter are:




Please let me know on