Gerhard Richter turned 82 on February 9. This post is a little celebration of the man and his wondrous ways of creating.
Some weeks ago SBS TV re-screened Corinna Belz’s award-winning 2012 documentary, Gerhard Richter Painting.
Belz spent three years as an observer in Richter’s Cologne studio capturing mesmerizing footage of the artist producing his radical abstract works. As we witness him mixing layer upon layer of bold primary colors, smearing the wet paint with a giant squeegee and scraping at the surfaces of the canvases, Richter’s masterpieces appear before our eyes. “You get the feeling the paintings are staring at you,” says Belz, who met the painter while filming his vibrant pixelated stained glass window for the Cologne Cathedral. “There’s a physicality to Richter’s paintings. I wanted the viewer to become immersed in the subtly suspenseful cycle of the process.”
As I watched I scribbled down a few droplets of Richter’s wisdom that resonated deeply with me … all the quotes below are from this wonderful film, from the mouth of the man himself. Enjoy!
You can’t explain a painting in words.
Painting is another way of thinking.
I’m always at a loss. That’s not the problem.
If chance had taken me elsewhere, I’d love it there.
Painting is a secretive business.
As a painter I “let go” in secret.
To paint under observation is the worst thing there is. Worse than being in hospital.
I act differently.
I create something I must respond to – until there’s nothing left to do.
Truth is the quality of what’s “good.”
This is such fun!
Images © Gerhard Richter sourced from a selection of public galleries.
(A very subjective selection, based on my adoration of colour and texture.)