Gerhard Richter, Pavillon, 1982, Böckmann Collection
Exhibition | 15.07.2006 - 11.02.2007

Gerhard Richter

Works from the Böckmann Collection
The Böckmann Collection contains an outstanding group of works by Gerhard Richter, one of the most important artists of our time. From now on, a selection of twenty, in part monumental works from the period between 1960 and 2003 will comprise a new focus at the Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen. A first glance at works by Richter already reveals that we are dealing with an artist whose formal diversity continues to surprise us. His oeuvre spans ever-changing "representational," "abstract," and "monochrome" pictorial conceptions. This juxtaposition of various painterly approaches stands for a unique artistic stance that is clearly identifiable in this selection of works from the Böckmann Collection.

When one first looks, for example, at several works reminiscent of blurred photographs, they appear to correspond to genres such as landscape painting or the portrait. What is in turn striking about other, abstract works is their relief-like structures, brilliant layers of color, and their nearly atmospheric character. They virtually seduce us into yielding to ancestral visual habits; allow us to discover spatial depth, light, shadow, and floating, almost physical formations in perfectly arranged spaces of illusion, where in fact there is only scraped, primed, or lacquered paint.

Richter’s refusal to commit himself to a clearly recognizable signature, his "break in style as a principle of style,” is characteristic of an exceedingly differentiated relationship to reality. When he, on the one hand, makes reference to photographs in a painterly way and, on the other hand, works on the next painting without a concrete representational reference, he time and again renders painting possible—and reflects it—as a site for doubting the function of images in our culture.

"Perhaps there is no basic difference between representational and abstract paintings. . . . They are both paintings, i.e., regardless of what they depict, they do it with the same methods: they are apparent; they are not what they depict, but the appearance thereof. That may be nothing new, but it is important for me, which is why I also accept illusionism in painting. Not only because we cannot avoid it, but because it is appearance and not deception, in the same way reality predominantly appears to us.” (Gerhard Richter)

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