Gerhard Richter, beyond a doubt the most famous German artist of his generation, will be celebrating his eightieth birthday on 9 February 2012. To mark the occasion, the New National Gallery is holding a sweeping retrospective of his work, in conjunction with Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Around 140 paintings and 5 sculptures from all periods of the artist's extensive oeuvre, carefully selected together with the artist himself, offer visitors a profound insight into his stylistically and thematically diverse body of work. Several canvases that have long been accepted into the modern canon, such as Ema (1966), the nude descending the stairs, and Betty (1988), whose head is turned away from the viewer, are combined here with rarely seen works and a few that have never been on display before. Key works from a particular period, group or series are placed alongside works that either stand out on their own or pre-echo later developments. Structured for the most part chronologically, the exhibition's dramaturgical flow centres around a dialogue, running over decades, held between abstraction and figuration; a dialogue that can be traced all the way back to the very first painting in Richter's catalogue raisonné, Table from 1962.
The exhibition demonstrates how the artist's rigorous and unrelentingly versatile inquiry into the medium of painting has led to consistent transgressions of its traditions and definitions. The idea of the picture as a surface, as a window, as a view onto a scene leads to Richter's exploration of mirrors and panes of glass, marking the culmination of his probing of the possibilities of depiction. At this point in the show, the works form a unique interplay with the building itself. Richter's panes of glass, glass screens and his astoundingly mimetic cloud and window paintings strike up a playful and charming dialogue with Mies van der Rohe's architecture of glass and steel. The Berlin show will also feature a unique highlight: for the express purpose of the exhibition, Gerhard Richter has completed Version I of his abstract, aleatoric work 4900 Colours which, at a length of over 200 metres, will encompass the entire exhibition.
The exhibition has been made possible by the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie.
A comprehensive catalogue is due for release to accompany the exhibition.
Gerhard Richter: October 18, 1977 (1988) at the Old National Gallery
Exhibition at the Old National Gallery
Potsdamer Straße 50
Sun 09:00 - 22:00
Tue 09:00 - 18:00
Wed 09:00 - 18:00
Thu 09:00 - 22:00
Fri 09:00 - 18:00
Sat 09:00 - 22:00
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