Gerhard Richter’s work transcends the historic separation of abstract and figurative painting. His works neither cultivate a complacent game of colors and forms, nor do they create an unbroken image of reality. The painting skeptic even questions the figurative when reality and its facts are the subjects of his works. This is especially the case with his door, curtain and window paintings of the 1960s that form the exhibition’s core. Although they quote the revealing characteristics of figurative art that shows us reality, at the same time they deny us access to this reality with a pictorial space lacking any illusionistic depth. His curtain paintings may serve as an example here, as they ostentatiously withdraw themselves from showcasing the world of the figurative: The curtain has fallen.
The artist’s iconoclastic attitude cannot be denied. To Richter, painting means designing surfaces, experimenting with the illusory nature of art, which, at best, lets us only imagine the reality “behind” the picture. This is particularly true for his door, curtain and window paintings in which he developed a picture concept which continues to be of relevance for Gerhard Richter’s art today, i.e. in his scraped paintings.
The exhibition which takes place on the occasion of Gerhard Richter’s 85thbirthday and the accompanying catalogue will include about 20 key works by the artist.
After its presentation in Bonn, the exhibition will be on display at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent.