16 Jul 2012

Gerhard Richter: back again

I was so impressed by the Richter show (of paintings and some glass sculptures) in Paris that I feel compelled to return to the subject. I will also, a bit later, take myself back to the show once again. The exhibition is entitled Panorama, and that title seems so suitable to the apparently 360° vision that this man manages to give of painting.

Among the things that struck me with some force in this retrospective of Richter's work, which stretches from the late 1950's to 2011, is the man's total freedom from any preconception of what painting should be, that is apart from just what the word says: painting. As I mentioned in my first article, Richter considers painting to be an essential and vital human activity, like dancing or singing. And the incredible vitality and diversity of his work makes that point so well. 

Richter likes beauty and can also face horror, without making us flee before ugliness like so many contemporary painters. He has lived through horror and so considers that some things cannot be shown directly, although anything can be a subject. He integrates equally and thoroughly the recent and troubled history of his country, Germany, his family, both past and present, the landscapes and other objects that strike him, great painters of the past and their way of seeing as these interact with his own vision, the modern world and the technological possibilities that it offers, and, above all, a love of looking and producing. In response to the interviewer's question "and why do you paint your family members so often?", Richter answers "because they are the people that move me the most",  Richter is demanding of himself when it comes to technique, and, as a result, one simply forgets the technical aspect of his work (apart from the occasional close-up peek), just to concentrate on the images and their impact on us. And this impact is, at least for me, considerable.

So let's abandon words and just look....

a shot from the very well set-out exhibition in the Pompidou Centre in Paris, which uses light so well.
The painting is one of Richter's large dark abstract works.

the framing is mine, and not brillant !

The intelligent use of scales and contrasts in the hanging. The large picture on the left was done using computers, while the small one on the right is entirely figurative and a landscape. Both are beautiful and finely executed.

See what I mean? Richter just does it, again and again and again. Knocks me out! If you own one, you are probably very rich. Just looking at them, in the show or in the catalogue I bought, makes me feel even richer...