Gerhard Richter works across a wide variety of textures and formats: painting over photographs, painting from photographs but blurring, mirrors, versions of a major Titian painting…… where do you even begin?
On what basis do you choose your format? I choose depending on the way I feel; randomly, in other words. When I haven’t done anything for a long time, I always start small, on paper.
Interview with Anna Tilroe, 1987 SOURCE
If you would like to see where Gerhard Richter went from his small beginnings with new themes and styles – see a 7 minute video of a gigantic exhibition of his works through his life, put together by the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist – equally as famous in his own line of work as the artist.
Because Hans Ulrich Obrist is such an amazing curator, working together with the living artist, Richter – they have made an exhibition which is the best of both their work – the gathering together of series (currently broken apart, sold and living in separate parts of the world) – and Richter requesting that there be an added unexpected counterpoint on one part-wall, sometimes making a new piece specifically for that. So you have the best of the old together with an added spice of something new.
There are even mirrors at the beginning and end of the exhibition – so that, as Obrist comments, the viewer becomes part of the exhibition.
Richter’s Titian annunciation
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Interestingly, as we see how Richter takes a classic painting, paints it blurred and draws interest from painting blurred photographs…. as I paused the video, I noticed that the curator himself becomes blurred in a mysterious way – see his hands in movement.
Disney hero of cartooning, Glen Keane, draws and describes the wonders of pencil/paper animation – then steps into another dimension: drawing directly into VR, more sculptural than flat drawing. A joy to watch.
Are you watching the Olympics? I’m playing catchup – and this pairs routine certainly caught my eyes. It’s exquisitely performed and the height of the throws in the air are amazing.
If you have a cynic who doesn’t understand the attraction of ice skating – is it art? is it athletics? Well, this is a good, expressive example – where what is going on is so much more than simply listening to a good piece of music. (Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung by K D Lang).
Both Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse acknowledge Cezanne: “He was the father of us all”. Take a walk through a current exhibition of portraits painted by Cezanne with the curator, John Elderfield and English art critic Alistair Sooke – and see what they mean.
Paul Cezanne (unlike almost all the other French Impressionists) was a man of independent means – he inherited sufficient money from his banker father to be able to paint what he liked – and he devoted his life to his work. He didn’t take commissions to paint portraits because, as John Elderfield says, Paul was too brusquely honest to flatter a sitter; he was concerned with truth, honesty, authenticity.
The exhibition is currently running at the National Portrait Gallery, London – until 11th February – but if you can’t get to it, there is a handy live tie-in with the exhibition on cinema, opening in UK cinemas, this Tuesday, 23rd January.
I went to see a similar exhibition/film (on Matisse’s cut-outs) and it was like being in a comfortable armchair, wheeled smoothly around the show, and with no one standing in your way. (Whereas, when you go to see a blockbuster show, there are inevitably a roomful of other strangers keen on looking up close to the paintwork – whom you have to wait and dodge around, all the time harried by the awareness that there’s someone else waiting for you to move away so that they can get their turn at the picture).
Here is the trailer for the Cezanne exhibition film:
“Watching paint dry” is an English expression for a very boring experience – but when it’s watching time-lapse of a fine art painting, it’s rather more interesting. This video shows us a few weeks’ work on a painting by artist Jean-Jacques Pigeon. At which stage do you most prefer the picture?
Rick and Brenda Beerhorst, husband and wife, paint and collage together, with other people looking on. And how inspiring that is.
If you’re wondering where the rich blockprints come from – they make them, themselves. I have a humorous print made by them, which I completely fell in love with. It arrived from Studio Beerhorst in an envelope clearly reused and with the address written upon it in a child’s handwriting. (They have a large family, with the kids encouraged to express themselves creatively also.)
“There’s a powerful vibe that comes off of things that are handmade and having those things in your environment where you live, I think, is really important.”
– Rick Beerhorst
In this 4 minute video, Rick muses on the experience of failure and success, as well as what a big city (New York) gives and takes away from the artist.
Studio Beerhorst prints and sculptures are available to purchase on their Etsy shop.