Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Thoughts on Gerhardt Richter

One of the things that amazed me most about the Gerhardt Richer images at the Tate was the sheer variety.

There were photo-realistic images of people, warplanes and aerial scenes. There were abstract images, such as his 4096 colours (and the variants). There were realistic/abstract images of clouds(?) which were a wonder to behold. And there were sculptures/installations, in particular his sandwich of 9(?) sheets of glass (enormous sheets) which create a visual illusion difficult to describe.

Before my visit (some weeks ago) I was blasé about what to expect. I hardly knew Richter's work and didn't expect more than a distracting Friday evening.

But I was overwhelmed (again). Initially by the sheer size of some of the images. Then by the stunning variety. Then by the "how did he do that" response to the photo-abstractionist exhibits. How can an artist make so much out of so much grey?

On my first visit I didn't buy the exhibition catalogue. It was very expensive.

Big mistake.

To understand the artist you need to spend time looking at his images. You can't do that on a two-hour tour of the galleries (brain, legs, bladder can't take much longer).

So, a few days later, I bought the book.

I love it.

But the images in the book are very small. While you can try to work out what the artist  was thinking about, you can't really understand what he achieved.

So now, having bought the book, I have to go back to the exhibition before it closes.Happily, that's Friday afternoon sorted. I just booked another visit.

(Richter cost so far  = £12 visit +£18 book +£12 visit +travel= £42+travel)