Friday, January 6, 2012

Gerhard Richter: Panorama at the Tate

Seascape (My #1 !)

Dead Body (Part 1 of the triptych)

 Betty (Richter's daughter)

Overpainted family photographs

 Richter's father and dog

 Wolke (triptych)


Lion with tourist
What to do when you are an artist presenting at the Venice Biennale and you fall in love with the Annunciation painted by Titian at the Scuola di San Ranco. Just produce a copy and hang it on your walls.
The Annunciation after Titian

Between Xmas and NYE I went to the UK and did two major exhibitions: Vermeer's Women : Secrets and Silence at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Gerhard Richter: Panorama at the Tate Modern in London. I will write later on Vermeer as I am too excited to tell you about Richter. I was waiting this exhibition for so long and thought I would wait for it to come to the Centre Georges Pompidou in june as it is supposed to be but had the chance to see a preview. Lucky lucky me.

Althought I know more about his contemporary and friend Sigmar Polke (I studied a lot while in Venice at the François Pinaud foundation >here<) I always had a strong interest in this 80 years old german painter. 

When I entered the exhibition I had the same impression when I went to Basquiat at the Musée d'Art Moderne >here<, his work is immense ! 14 rooms altogether. Diverse range of techniques are presented: paintings based on photographs, gestural abstractions, portraits (mostly of his daugther and family members) and landscapes. As Christian Boltanski ( see his work for the french pavillon at the Venice Biennale >here<)  his paintings reflect historical horrors of the nazism without heavily suggest them. 
What I perceived from this mass of artworks was that Richter is not a painter at all. I remember what my art teacher Fluxus movement member Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux used to tell me "The Medium is the Medium, I am painting with pieces of torn photographs, I am drawing with scissors, detach yoursel from the medium to better understand it". Richter is a photograph who has traded his films against brushes. The result is an epic beauty of photographic quality (called photorealism but I hate this word) paintings deepen into a tangible blur made with horizontal gestures.

To me, the most interesting part of the work are the landscapes, his daughter portraits and the paintings made of newspapers photographs (even if it is Polke's iconic range of work). I've been a bit disappointed by his abstractions entitled each time 'Abstraction n°1,2...' Althought I was less sensible to it, I can understand how these colorful explosions constitute an essential part of his artistic evolution. This judgement may appear too hasty and newt time I will face Richter's abstraction I will try to look at it with virgin eyes. 

Tate Modern 6 October 2011 - 8 January 2012

1 comment:

Ling said...

I like him so much ! love from Beijing