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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Gerhard Richter

b. 1932, Germany

Gerhard Richter Biography

Gerhard Richter is an artist known for his diverse and innovative methods of painting that oscillate between realism and abstraction, and his use of photographic sources as the basis of his work.

After graduating in 1956 from the Dresden Art Academy, where he trained as a painter, Richter painted murals in the state-dictated Socialist Realist aesthetic. In 1959, he visited II. documenta in Kassel and was impressed by the artwork of the Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana and American painter Jackson Pollock. Drawn to the possibility of artistic freedom outside East Germany, he defected to West Germany in 1961 and enrolled in the Kunstakadmie Düsseldorf. There, he met artists Sigmar Polke and Blinky Palermo and future art dealer Konrad Lueg (later Konrad Fischer), whose shared interest in Pop art led them to found Capitalist Realism in 1963—a critique of both Socialist Realism and capitalism.

Richter's paintings from the 1960s are figurative and based on photographic images, a procedure that would continue with his later works. The oil painting Table (1962), for example, began as a realistic portrayal of a white designer table, but the artist was so dissatisfied with the result that he covered most of it in bold brush marks. Uncle Rudi (1965)—one of his most famous works—is based on a full-length photograph of his uncle in Wehrmacht uniform. While representational, the black-and-white painting was rendered with a blurring effect that makes it difficult to see the image with certainty.

In 1962 Richter began building his vast archive of images. The archive includes photographs taken by him or gathered elsewhere of family members, landscapes, still lifes; newspaper cuttings; and sketches for his paintings. In the early 1970s, he started exhibiting his archival images as works of art in their own right under the title 'Atlas'.

Richter's interest in the tension between photography and painting, and between realism and abstraction led him to experiment with a range of methods. For the large-scale diptych Abstract Painting (726), for example, he dragged a squeegee over the surface of the paint to smear it. Underneath the overall grey, however, shades of red, white, and orange hint at the possibility of an original, representational image. Other methods include painting directly over pictures, such as Self Portrait Standing, Three Times, 17.3.1991 (1991), for which the artist applied increasingly more paint on six identical images of himself standing in his studio, so that by the sixth image the original picture is practically invisible.

Richter continues to test the threshold between the figurative and the abstract. For 'Birkenau' (2014), a four-part abstract series based on the photographs secretly taken by Jewish prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1944, the artist made photographic renditions of the images and painted over them until they became unrecognisable.

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Zaun [Fence] by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterZaun [Fence], 1983 Oil on canvas
150 x 100 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts
Abstract Painting by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterAbstract Painting, 1992 Oil on canvas
52 x 62 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts
MV. 98 by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterMV. 98, 2011 Lacquer on colour photograph
10 x 15 cm
Gagosian
MV. 45 by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterMV. 45, 2011 Lacquer on colour photograph
10 x 15 cm
Gagosian
Firenze (29.1.2000) by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterFirenze (29.1.2000), 2000 Oil on colour photograph
12 x 12 cm
Gagosian
4.1.89 by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard Richter4.1.89, 1989 Oil on colour photograph
12.7 x 17.5 cm
Gagosian
Rot-Blau-Gelb [Red-Blue-Yellow] by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterRot-Blau-Gelb [Red-Blue-Yellow], 1973 Oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts
Vermalung (Braun) by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterVermalung (Braun), 1972 Oil on canvas
27 x 40 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Gerhard Richter, Overpainted Photographs at Gagosian, London
Closed
9 April–8 June 2019 Gerhard Richter Overpainted Photographs Gagosian, Davies Street, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Selections at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Closed
28 June–24 August 2018 Group Exhibition Summer Selections Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Represented By

In Related Press

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Paper work – the British Museum shows off its collection of contemporary drawings Related Press Paper work – the British Museum shows off its collection of contemporary drawings Apollo Magazine : 4 November 2019

Anish Kapoor, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread, Gerhard Richter. These may not be names that spring to mind when you think of the British Museum, but they all have work filed away in its extensive archive of prints and drawings. 'Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now' lifts a lid on a lesser-known collection at a museum renowned...

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Never Look Away hitches Gerhard Richter paintings to melodrama set in Nazi Germany Related Press Never Look Away hitches Gerhard Richter paintings to melodrama set in Nazi Germany Sarinah Maskor : 21 June 2019

'To talk about painting is not only difficult but perhaps pointless, too,' says Gerhard Richter in Corrina Belz's 2012 documentary Gerhard Richter Painting. 'You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate. Painting has nothing to do with that.' This wisdom is lost on director Florian Henckel von...

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Buyer’s guide to...Gerhard Richter Related Press Buyer’s guide to...Gerhard Richter The Art Newspaper : 10 June 2019

With a major retrospective coming up at New York's Met Breuer next year (4 March-5 July), plus his Seascapes at the Guggenheim Bilbao (until 9 September), the German artist Gerhard Richter is having another moment. At Art Basel this week, his work is on show at the booths of David Zwirner and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, among others.This is hardly a...

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Painting’s Patriarchal Spirit Related Press Painting’s Patriarchal Spirit Hyperallergic : 20 October 2018

LONDON—In 1981, the Royal Academy of Arts in London put on an exhibition of 20th century painting that changed the art world. A New Spirit in Painting was 'a manifesto,' the accompanying catalogue said; it showcased a set of contemporary, mostly European painters, whose work possessed qualities—figurative, narrative, emotional,...

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