Gerhard Richter at mima, Middlesbrough
Tues, Wed, Fri & Sat 10:00am – 4:30pm
Thurs 10:00am – 7.00pm
Sun 12:00pm – 4:00pm
The German artist Gerhard Richter is among the most revolutionary and influential painters of the past fifty years.
Richter began his ongoing investigation into the process of painting during the 1960s, and, as can be seen from his book entitled The Daily Practice of Painting 1992, it has sustained him ever since. He identified three broad areas of activity in painting: figurative, constructive and abstract, but the categories overlap and the artist may also use early works as a reservoir of ideas to be developed later.
During the 1960s and into the 1970s Richter’s work was primarily figurative but the realist tendency is always balanced by the care he takes to distance it from naturalism, by using photographs. He paints his images in shades of grey, or in black and white, and blurs and simplifies them by brushing over the wet paint. This arbitrary intervention also disassociates the work from the personal responses of the artist and makes it seem more abstract.
In portraits such as Brigid Polk 1971 and Gilbert, George 1975, both included in the ARTIST ROOMS collection, there is a similar blurring effect. In 48 Portraits 1971-98 realism is tempered by the black and white photo reproduction source from an encyclopaedia which makes these images seem both primitive and iconic, and perhaps closer to propaganda than portraiture.
The collection of Richter works included in the ARTIST ROOMS collection spans all aspects of the artist’s complex practice and includes unique works in many different media, from Two Sculptures for a Room by Palermo 1971 to the recent glass sculpture 11 Scheiben 2004.
This extensive exhibition at mima, entitled 'Modern Times', presented abstract works, watercolours, pencil and graphite drawings, oil paintings on paper, over-painted photographs and a rarely seen sculpture across four rooms.