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 will be pursuing these issues in the light of the first ever exhibition of Richter’s art in Australia, to be held in 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.
Helga Matura and her Fiancé, Gerhard Richter, 1966.
This was the first painting by Richter I ever saw. It was included (so inappropriately) with an exhibition of Pop Art in Sydney. A very large canvas, its monochrome and blurring were immediately 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 apperceptions, behind it even more so. I will be writing more about this, and other Richter images, in forthcoming posts.