STRIP (921-5)

  • 2011
  • Gerhard Richter
  • Digital print on paper mounted between aluminium and Perspex (diasec)
  • 200 x 440 cm
These works redefine the pictorial concept and how it is realised, particularly though the computer modelling of colour combinations. This series of 72 digital prints was based on a scan of Abstract Painting (724-4), a work from 1990 in which layers of pigments were applied with a squeegee. Using computer software, the scan was divided vertically into two strips, then into four, eight, 16, 32 and so on, becoming increasingly narrow until there were a total of 8,190 strips. Richter has always explored the boundaries of photography and its influence on his pictorial practice, and with this piece is pursuing his investigation of painting’s resistance to new media.

© Gerhard Richter. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo


Gerhard Richter

Initially working in the academic tradition taught at Dresden Art Academy (in East Germany at that time), Gerhard Richter took up photography in the early 1960s, continuing on from the "capitalist realism" of his early works, reflecting upon painting and the purpose of art.

Marked by the experience of the war years, he found in this medium a critical distance from which to approach subjects in which politics and history are closely linked to the personal realm. Throughout his career, Richter has reproduced magazine and newspaper photographs as well as his own photographs of friends and family. At the same time he has developed a form of abstraction using coloured lines, gestural abstraction and monochrome. In this way, Richter revisits – not without an ironic distance – the history of painting, romantic and sublime themes, and geometric and lyrical abstraction. More than a parallelism, this coexistence between figuration and abstraction is like a mise en abyme, echoing the material depth of the “scratched” surface and of photographic elements perceived through other layers, or the mental depth in form of certain titles that refer to atmospheres, natural elements or people’s names. Rather than being reductive and conceptual, this lifetime’s research is radical in the way it hesitates between erasing and revealing.

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