Saturday, February 26, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Already in the earliest work from 1962, Faltbarer Trockner (Folding Dryer), Richter's signature Verwischung (blurring) is in place, but curiously it is only applied to the image of a housewife and her clothes dryer, not the rest of the clipping which also contains writing, advertising this immensely practical contraption. The same difference in treatment holds true for all of the works that contain both visual and verbal information, and thus Richter points to the precariousness of images as containers of information. Instead, the sensationalism yet banality of his subjects (household objects, great dames of Germany's underworld, con-men, victims of violence) is contrasted with the beauty of painting, relegating art into a different sphere, or equally validly, calling attention to the artifice of it all.
A display case of magazines, the kind of source material Richter used, proves illuminating. There they are: grey-scale images, often grainy, slightly blurred, or very small, which through Richter's working method of projection would lose even more resolution. In several works from the mid-1960s Richter's painting process becomes even more clear. In these the artist deliberately excluded the surface of individual areas from wiping after finishing the composition—un-finishing his paintings as it has been called. Here, through a break in coherence, illusion opens to abstracted solidity and pictorial depth.