Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby jasperjoffe » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:15 am

Massively well received exhibition with rave reviews all over the place. If you go see it, you might realise that Richter is not very good and appeals to philistines and people who don't really like art because:

1: He paints like photos (he mayhave invented this idea, but it's not that amazing, and I am pretty sure other pop artists, surrealists etc did it too). So he does a dead sort of painting of a vaguely interesting photo and gets a big brush and blurs it. And wow it looks a bit like a blurry photo. Philistines enjoy this cos it's skillful in their eyes (it looks like a photo!!!), and art critics like it cos it seems to say something about history or the end of paintings. Ah, actually after years of it, you just end up with a bunch of grubby boring paintings of flat things. The much lauded ones of his daughter or gf turning her head is frankly rubbish, they reproduce well because they go back to looking like photographs and you can't see their dull surfaces. They are so far from Vermeer as to be comical.

2: He does abstract AND figurative. Ah ha, the philistine likes this because it shows the whole art thing's a load of nonsense, confirming their suspicions that abstract painting is meaningless ie they dont understand it. Others like this because it shows variety. He gets a load of expensive oil paint and blurs it with a squeegee, and sometimes you get a vaguely nice pattern. Critics can yack on it about the end of gesture, history, yada yada.

3. He does some mirrors. Painting is a mirror. Gettit.

The richterheads will tell me that all this is deliberate. The paintings are boring and repetitive cos he wants them like that, because images and stuff are like that after the holocaust. Hmm. It's neither true, paintings can still be really beautiful, emotive, varied, exciting. These aren't and they don't so much at all. And so Richter is now OFFICially the most overrated living painter on earth after death of freud, twomby et al.
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Re: Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby CAP » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:05 pm

I think he's not so much over-rated as over-exposed. People have been banging on about him for about 20 years (he got rediscovered in a big way in the late 80s) and, not surprisingly, when you actually get to look at the stuff, it can't hope to live up to the hype. You come away disappointed, but mainly because the expectations were absurdly high. I feel the same way about him as I feel about Warhol and Kiefer: there needs to be a moratorium on exhibitions (particularly in public galleries) for at least 20 years, to give us some sort of reasonable perspective. We need to look away now.

But I guess that's the way of fashion and yay-sayers - in the end they kill the thing they love.

Don't fear the reaper I say.

8-)
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Re: Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby Featherblend » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:52 am

http://featherblend-grandarttours.blogspot.com/2011/11/gerhard-richter-panorama-tate-modern.html

"For Baudelaire Manet was the painter of modern life, for me Richter is the painter of modern life"*

I don't think I would say Richter is my painter of modern life but I would say his masterful manipulation of paint and image says a lot about the development of visual culture since the 19th century. Artists in the late 19th century such as Degas and Manet started using the influence of photography in their work but Richter uses the photograph as subject matter or at least as what you could call source material. Using photographs from magazines and newspapers or photographers he had taken himself, Richter has used them to create slick photorealistic paintings which seem almost absent of any brush work. He also famously recreates photographic blurring in his paintings with gentle, wispy strokes across the surface of the picture. The blurring becomes more prevalent throughout the exhibition as the signature painting technique. It evolves into large scale abstract paintings which have been pushed and pulled by a large squeegee to create obliterated surfaces bleeding in and out of each other. In places these seemingly different visual concerns are dynamic and energetic but they are also disconnected and block the viewers’ visual flow. This exhibition seems to want to unify Richter's output into a cohesive train of thought but I felt that it was visually divergent and created two separate halves to the show.

An example of where Richter’s different techniques work well together is in the corner of room 3. Entitled Damaged Landscapes, room 3 contains a series of landscapes which use a wide range of applications to depict lonely and desolate environments. The smooth, flatness of Seascape (cloudy) 1969 jostles for position in the corner with the rough, jagged Himalaya 1968. Standing between these two paintings produced a buzzing visual sensation. Looking back and forth at their obvious differences stimulated a pleasure of compatible contrast. Unlike the dislocation between the gigantic abstract and the intimate photorealistic elsewhere in the show, these two hung perfectly as antidotes to each other. They seemed to answer each other. Hard with soft, forcefulness with gentleness and grandeur with intimacy. They share values of monumentality but differ enough to keep it surprising. The short, flat white brush marks of the Himalayan snow against the silhouetted peaks and ridges of a hard edged, dominating mountain contrast sharply with the soft and warm underbelly of an encroaching storm cloud in Seascape (cloudy). The eye enjoyed searching through the expanse of flat subtle tonal and temperature shifting in the Seascape cloud and trying to find the line where these subtleties changed only to be constantly thwarted. The anecdote to this optical illusion came with the bold, brash and cutting forms of the Himalayan mountain. They both offered visual relief from one another but kept the visual stimulus perpetual. Seascape (cloudy) reminds me of the subtle tonal depth of Yves Tanguy's Azure Day. Unlike Tanguy's gradual recession into space, Richter's precise move between warm yellow, orange with cold blue and grey challenges the eye to see the interplay of light through a cloud on a flat surface. The short, flat globulous brush strokes of Himalaya reminds me of George Braque's cubist paintings. Short, sharp deliberate brush strokes building up geometric faces and edgy surfaces.

“I suppose what Richter does is have a kind of counter point in his work between one way of working and another and another and another. I have a feeling he will go on working and go on working in ways that seem oppositional to each-other”* I felt that the divergent painting styles and choice of random imagery reflects the artists freedom at being able to paint what he wants. Like Manet his paintings are masterly constructions of images made up to produce an overall picture which he is satisfied with. In Seascape (sea sea) Richter has manipulated two photographs by flipping one 180 degrees Photoshop style, above the other to create an uneasy vortex where the two seascapes converge. I think the fact that he often leaves source images and unfinished paintings for a long period of time before returning to them shows that he deliberately distances himself in order to focus objectively on the aesthetics. We are told the images he has chosen have personal significance which may be the case but he treats them all the same and includes paintings of himself, family and contemporary events with seemingly unrelated mass media images and abstracts. For instance he produced a series of paintings depicting photographs of the Baader Meinhoff group some ten years after the actual event. This may have been a very human way of emotionally coming to terms with something very traumatic but it may have also been an opportunistic way to pick an opportune moment in the social climate to present these works and a way to treat them unemotionally. They are sentimental in the way only an mass media image can be sentimental, like a postcard, but they lacked sincerity. This variety is testament to his consistent concern with the image.
“I don't believe in the reality of painting, so I use different styles like clothes: it's a way to disguise myself.”*

Towards the end of the exhibition the photorealistic pictures become less startling and image choice becomes more random and less connected leaving each room fragmented. In the end I don't trust him and that is testament to his technical ability.



* Nicholas Serota July 2011
*Adrien Searle, the Guardian 12 October 2011
*Interview with Bruce Ferguson and Jeffrey Spalding, 1978
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Re: Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby jasperjoffe » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:30 pm

masterful technique???? two techniques: 1, standard late twentieth century middle european figure painting with added blur (just run a big brush over top of paint surface. begin by projecting up image, colour in carefully, and then blur. 2, squeegee a load of paint to make abstract..


you too can be a master
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Re: Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby Featherblend » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:46 pm

Anybody can copy anybody else - thats not worthwhile. The trick is to be the first one to do it or to get the recognition for doing it. Richter has done that.
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Re: Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby CAP » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:46 pm

The Richter Scale.


....Speaking of Gerhards, what about another show from Till? ;)
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Re: Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern London

Postby Corr » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:32 pm

Happy Birthday CAP
Hope you are having a lovely day
C
xxxx
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