The exhibition shows for the first time the long-term loan from the Gerhard Richter Art Foundation to the Neue Nationalgalerie.
The central work in the exhibition is the series Birkenau (2014), consisting of four large-format, abstract paintings. Birkenau is the result of Richter’s long and in-depth engagement with the Holocaust and the possibilities of representing it. The works are based on four photographs taken in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, which the artist transposed with charcoal and oil paint to four canvases before gradually painting over them abstractly. With each layer of paint, the depiction of the original drawing disappeared a little more, until it eventually became invisible. The work also includes a large four-part mirror, which is positioned opposite the four Birkenau canvases, creating another level of reflection.
Alongside the Birkenau series, other works from various phases of Richter’s career will be exhibited, among them Squatters’ House (1989), 4,900 Colors (2007), and Strip (2013/2016). There is also another large group of works from Richter’s striking series of overpainted photographs, in which the artist addresses the tension between photography and painting on a new level.
The presentation was developed in close collaboration with the artist. In the future, curatorial and artistic interventions by artists from various fields will present Gerhard Richter’s art in ever-new contexts.
The exhibition is curated by Joachim Jäger and Maike Steinkamp.
Media partners are: Monopol and Der Tagesspiegel
A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
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