default
© Museum Barberini
*

Gerhard Richter: Abstraction

June 30 – October 21, 2018

Gerhard Richter’s work has already been honored in major retrospectives. In 2002, the Museum of Modern Art in New York devoted a solo show to the artist. In 2011, Tate Modern in London, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris mounted an exhibition that took a wide-ranging view of Richter’s life work, as encapsulated in its title, Panorama. Our exhibition, Gerhard Richter: Abstraction, also traces a broad arc from the 1960s to the artist’s more recent works. Unlike the retrospectives, however, the exhibition at the Museum Barberini concentrates upon a theme crucial to Richter’s painting: the abstract strategies and techniques employed across the artist’s oeuvre.

The exhibition was inspired by a work held by the Museum Barberini and brings together over ninety artworks from international museums and private collections, some of which will be on display for the first time. It follows Richter’s development from the black-and-white Photo paintings and Color Charts to the Detail paintings, the Gray paintings, the Inpaintings, and the Abstract paintings, as Richter often titled his works from the late 1970s onward. The works in this last series retain traces of the tools used in the artist’s working process: brushes, squeegees, and spatulas. Through the broad range of the diverse groups of works on display, viewers will be able to identify elements that recur throughout Richter’s entire oeuvre.

“Abstraction runs like a golden thread through Richter’s painting. As volatile and diverse as his changes from one phase to the next may have seemed to some of his contemporaries, Richter’s work has nonetheless resolutely furthered and transformed abstraction,” explains Ortrud Westheider, director of the Museum Barberini. “By deliberately incorporating chance, he minimizes the artist’s conscious control of the painting process. Richter emphasizes a grid structure over spontaneous creativity and draws a squeegee across entire canvases. He eschews subjectivity and references outside of art. These abstract works function on their own terms.”

The exhibition, curated by Ortrud Westheider, director of Museum Barberini, and Dietmar Elger, director of the Gerhard Richter Archive at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, has been developed in close collaboration with the Gerhard Richter Archive. The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive program of workshops and events including talks, guided tours, concerts, and film screenings.

Biography

Biography
Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter was born on February 9, 1932 in Dresden. After completing school, he became an apprentice at the municipal theater in Zittau. His first application to the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts was rejected. He was subsequently accepted in 1951 and studied painting and mural painting there until 1961. He received state commissions and produced independent work. He attended the documenta II in Kassel in 1959 and the abstract art he saw there had a major impact on him.

In 1961, Richter and his wife fled to West Germany. He continued his studies in Düsseldorf. He immersed himself in the Düsseldorf art scene and experimented with different forms of artistic expression. He worked closely with the artists Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg, Blinky Palermo, and Günther Uecker. In the early 1960s, Richter began basing his paintings on black-and-white photographs. In 1966, he created his first nonrepresentational paintings, began his series of Color Charts, and experimented with glass. In different series of works he advanced his examination of the possibilities inherent in painting. His work was marked by a rapid change in styles.

From 1971 to 1994, Richter taught at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. In 1972, his work was shown at the West German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and he participated for in the documenta the first time. Richter’s work Construction (1976) initiated his series of Abstract paintings, his most extensive group to date. In 1980, he began using a squeegee for the first time to create his Abstract paintings. Since 1983, Richter has lived and worked in Cologne and his work has been the focus of numerous international exhibitions. In 1995, he married the artist Sabine Moritz. From the 2000s, Richter began to fundamentally expand the materials and techniques he uses with his Reverse-Glass works and Strips. In 2007, he created a monumental stained-glass window for the Cologne Cathedral. Today, Gerhard Richter is one of the most successful living artists in the world.

catalogue
Gerhard Richter: Abstraction

A catalogue will be published by Prestel Verlag, Munich, published by the Museum Barberini, Potsdam in cooperation with the Gerhard Richter Archive, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. With contributions by Hubertus Butin, Dietmar Elger, Valerie Hortolani, Matthias Kruger, Ortrud Westheider and Armin Zweite. 240 pages, 24.0 x 30.0 cm, 174 color illustrations, ISBN: 978-3-7913-5744-7. Issue in the museum shop € 29.95, bookstore edition € 39.00.

Order

Gerhard Richter: Abstraction

A catalogue will be published by Prestel Verlag, Munich, published by the Museum Barberini, Potsdam in cooperation with the Gerhard Richter Archive, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. With contributions by Hubertus Butin, Dietmar Elger, Valerie Hortolani, Matthias Kruger, Ortrud Westheider and Armin Zweite. 240 pages, 24.0 x 30.0 cm, 174 color illustrations, ISBN: 978-3-7913-5744-7. Issue in the museum shop € 29.95, bookstore edition € 39.00.

Order

Gerhard Richter at a visit in Museum Barberini
Opening of the exhibition
Abstract and Specific. Not a speech
Norbert Lammert, former President of Bundestag

.

Norbert Lammert, former President of Bundestag

.

Ortrud Westheider on the curtain motif
Armin Zweite on the relationship between painting and thinking
Matthias Krüger on the squeegee
Dietmar Elger on the relationship to reality
Matthias Krüger on the role of chance
Dietmar Elger on Abstract and Representational Art
Ortrud Westheider on references to modernism
press comments

"Once again a great designed exhibition in Potsdam. Gerhard Richter's work offers an astonishing diversity in abstraction. Even who is alienating with her, is converted here at the latest in the last room. In everything that is non-objective, the landscape always appears. The wide horizon, the sky, the green of the meadows. That's optimism. "
- Gabriela Walde in Berliner Morgenpost

"Never before have you focused so much on this" common thread "- the departure of figuration, but at the same time playing with it - as well as on Richter's painterly strategies and procedures."
- Ingeborg Ruthe in Berliner Zeitung

"The Museum Barberini shows Gerhard Richter as an analytical mastermind and undisputed grand master of non-figurative painting"
- DARE magazine

"Impressive to see how Richter has always continued to turn and develop his work ... very well"
- Simone Reber on Deutschlandfunk Kultur

"The Museum Barberini shows works by the painter Gerhard Richter: No retrospective, and not even the late work of the 86-year-olds. Instead, it's about the red thread in his artistic life: the abstraction. "
- Deutsche Welle

"A show that sums up Richter's basic artistic understanding on the basis of key works and works that have never been shown before."
- Gesine Borcherdt in DIE WELT

"For Gerhard Richter, who was in Potsdam on Thursday, it's like a meeting with old acquaintances."
- FAZ online

"The Museum Barberini celebrates the painter star Gerhard Richter with a spectacular exhibition"
- Ulrike Plewnia in FOCUS

"Richter's attitude is determined to free oneself from emotional, narrative, pathetic intentions, but never to give up on the goal of getting an idea of ​​the world"
- Frankfurter Rundschau

"The highlight of the year at the Museum Barberini ... a series of discoveries through the Richter universe"
- rbb Abendschau and Brandenburg aktuell

"Surprising in all its diversity"
- Barbara Wiegand at rbb Inforadio

"Fascinating to see how he unpacks his picturesque cutlery and uses it with new variations"
- Silke Hennig at Kulturradio from rbb

"50 years of art make a logical development here"
- Spiegel online