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>> Press Excerpts on “Gerhard Richter: Acht Grau”

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Press Excerpts on “Gerhard Richter: Acht Grau”

“A neutrality carried to the point of pain,” Harald Fricke from the taz seems to sense in Gerhard Richter’s eight grey monochromes. The viewer stands in front of what is, and keeps asking himself what it could be, according to Fricke. “Scant decoration in the middle of an autocratic architecture? A mausoleum of painting? Or a trickily hung cabinet of monochrome surfaces which automatically mirror the visitor in their highly polished surfaces?” Even if the eight monumental panels effortlessly fit into the surrounding city ambience, Fricke detects a shade of subversion in the work made for the Deutsche Bank and the Deutsche Guggenheim: “In Richter’s work, grey has always been the color of resistance – a signal for incompatibility and irreconcilability with what he terms ‘Capitalist Realism.’”

In the Berliner Zeitung, Sebastian Preuss doesn’t even dare to think of how the eight grey mirrors would have been received, had they been made by some fresh “greenhorn.” Yet he credits Gerhard Richter with nothing less than having saved painting: “The conceptual painter’s machine-made glass panels are born of the same spirit as his paintings. This obsessed artist has always been questioning in his works what painting, what art in general can be. Since the sixties, he’s been leading the ostracized discipline out of its crisis by way of a detour: photography.

His imitations of photographs constitute a meta-painting that continues to reconcile innumerable artists with the discipline to this day and secures its relevance.”

In the Welt, Gabriela Walde above all complains over the fact that Gerhard Richter refused to explain his work in two sentences at the press conference. “Once again, the master won’t speak,” she remarks, rather more perturbed than self-complacent. She herself finds that “mirrored surfaces are open to every projection; any interpretation fits. Somehow. You can see everything – or nothing.”

In the Tagesspiegel, on the other hand, Christina Tilmann finds it entirely correct that Gerhard Richter doesn’t speak about his concepts, ideas, or plans: “For his works are immediately accessible – and continue to unfold the deeper one delves into them.” And while the eight monochromes come across as being monumental, according to Tilmann, one can nonetheless tell “how transparent, how sensitive the work is” by how extraordinarily dependent they are on their environment. She asserts: “When the cool fluorescent light of the exhibition room is turned on and its white tubes are reflected in the panels, a clinically cool, highly artificial spatial impression arises, entirely removed from reality. When daylight comes in through the windows, open as they are for the first time facing the boulevard, when the evening twilight penetrates the space, a dim, sacral mood arises and the work recedes as the street and the city enter the room.”