The best contemporary German art raises key issues for theory and practice, touching on the philosophy and ethics of the image and its reproduction, the deep relationship between photography and painting, and the dense entanglements of art, history and traumatic memory. The work of Gerhardt Richter is an especially rich domain for the consideration of these relationships. I have been studying Richter’s art for several years. Richter is almost unknown in Australia. The first ever exhibition of Richter’s art in Australia was held October 2017 – February 2018 at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). What a remarkable achievement, to mount this extraordinary exhibition. Congratulations and a thousand thanks to the far-sighted, visionary director Chris Saines and the co-curators Geraldine Barlow and Rosemary Hawker.
Richter is also a prolific writer whose thoughts on painting, photography and the art industry are a constant source of inspiration.
Helga Matura and her Fiancé.
This was the first painting by Richter I ever saw “in the flesh”. It was included with an exhibition of Pop Art in Sydney. A very large canvas, its monochrome and blurring were completely gripping. What was the real story behind Helga Matura and her boy lover? The technical elements in the painting were astonishing but the ideas, or rather perceptions, behind it even more so. I will be writing more about this, and other Richter images, in forthcoming posts.