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Aesthetic Radicalism in 'Awakenings’ at Singapore’s National Gallery Ocula Report Aesthetic Radicalism in 'Awakenings’ at Singapore’s National Gallery 21 Jun 2019 : Sam Gaskin for Ocula

Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s–1990s, a major retrospective at Singapore's National Gallery (14 June–15 September 2019), opens emphatically in flames. At the exhibition's entrance, viewers encounter a wall-sized image from 1964 titled Burning Canvases Floating on the River. The photograph captures a performance by Lee Seung-taek, in which...

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Thomas J Price: Reframing Classical Sculpture Ocula Conversation Thomas J Price: Reframing Classical Sculpture

When the London-born artist Thomas J Price graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Arts in 2004, the school's college art prize was by no means his most notable accomplishment as an emerging artist. In 2001, Price presented his much-talked-about work Licked, a daring performance, later profiled on the BBC 4 television...

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'Sites Encountered': A Chorus of Five Artists at M+ Pavilion Ocula Report 'Sites Encountered': A Chorus of Five Artists at M+ Pavilion 21 Jun 2019 : Emily Verla Bovino for Ocula

Without punctuation, She Said Why Me, the title of May Fung's 1989 video presents itself as a statement, rather than a question. It suggests a subject who expects no response, a person prepared to make what she can from being chosen though perplexed by the attention. The video follows a blindfolded woman, then unmasked, through late colonial-era...

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Gerhard Richter

b. 1932, Germany

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

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

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

It was also in 1962 that Ricther began building his vast archive of images. These include photographs, taken by himself or gathered elsewhere, of family members, landscapes, and still lifes; newspaper cuttings, and sketches for his paintings. In the early 1970s, he started exhibiting his archival images as a work of art—as documents of the breadth of his practice—under the title Atlas.

Richter's interest in exploring 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 Abstraktes Bild (726), for example, he dragged a squeegee over the surface of the paint to smear it. Underneath the overall grey, however, colours of red, white, and orange hint at the possibility of an original, representational image. Other methods include painting directly over pictures, such as in Self Portraits Standing, Three Times, 17.3.1991 (1991), for which Richter applied increasingly more paint on six identical images of himself standing in his studio, so that by the sixth image the original picture would be 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 taken by a Jewish prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1944, Richter made photographic renditions of the images, and painted over them until they became unrecognisable.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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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
Rot-Blau-Gelb (Red-Blue-Yellow) by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterRot-Blau-Gelb (Red-Blue-Yellow), 1973 Oil on canvas
98 x 92 cm
Ben Brown Fine Arts
Rot-Blau-Gelb (Red-Blue-Yellow) by Gerhard Richter contemporary artwork
Gerhard RichterRot-Blau-Gelb (Red-Blue-Yellow), 1973 Oil on canvas
175 x 125 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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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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The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Related Press The Spirit of Painting in an Altered World Hyperallergic : 12 May 2018

'A faint, beautiful memory' is how curator Norman Rosenthal described A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018, the current show at Almine Rech Gallery on the Upper East Side. What he’s remembering, as spelled out in the exhibition’s title, is the seminal survey, A New Spirit in Painting, which opened, barely, at the Royal Academy of Arts in...

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Gerhard Richter Related Press Gerhard Richter Interview Magazine : 30 December 2015

"It is one of the most important artist archives of the 20th century," says Walther König about his rationale for publishing Gerhard Richter's epic monograph Atlas. The artist's vast, eclectic collection of images-news photographs, advertisements, color swatches, and amateur photos that Richter began gathering in the early...

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Painting Is Total Idiocy Related Press Painting Is Total Idiocy Niru Ratman for The Spectator / 27 November 2014 : 22 December 2014

Gerhard Richter has got a website. This is odd in itself - artists only usually have websites when they are young and not represented by a commercial gallery. They then proudly drop their websites when they get signed up to show that they are not in the grubby business of having to promote themselves. Gerhard Richter is 82 and arguably one of the...

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