A summit like no other: Davos, 1981, from Richter’s cycle of mountain pictures. (Photo: Fondation Beyeler, Basel)
Gerhard Richter, 18 May until 7 September, in the Fondation Beyeler, Basel.
I have known Gerhard Richter since I visited the opening of his exhibition in Bern in 1986 as an 18-year old schoolboy. From this meeting began a dialogue that has not stopped since. Richter’s work accompanied me almost daily when I was a student in St. Gallen, where a wall-covering abstract painting by him had been mounted in the library. In 1992 I put on the first of my many Richterexhibitions in the Nietzsche House in Sils-Maria. I recorded a great number of our conversations; a selection was also published as a book. But it’s not just between Richter and me that there is a close connection but also between Richter and Switzerland. His stay in Davos inspired him to create various mountain pictures; back in 1966 galerist Bruno Bischofberger showed his work and so, on many occasions, did the director of the Winterthur Art Museum, Dieter Schwarz, who later built up a very good Richter collection. Yet since 1986 there has been no big overview exhibition of his work in Switzerland. That I was given the privilege,, in close collaboration with the artist, to curate this one now is like a dream come true: It is not only the re-viewing of Richter’s works, that so marked my life, but it is also the first big museum exhibition that I have ever put on in Switzerland, my native country.
But: How does one present Gerhard Richter’s work that has been and is to be seen all over the world? The idea came about when I studied one of his five variations on Titian’s Annunciation, in which the subject dissolves more and more in each variation. It became clear to me that Richter’s works – whether it is the October pictures or the clouds or the Colour Charts – can be best experienced when one perceives them as a series or a cycle. Then, through the apparent repetition of the theme, the differences become all the more clearly visible. Even with the grey pictures that, on first viewing, all look the same, the theme turns out not to be the negation of painting at all. In contrast, when one looks at them precisely, one notices straight away that these are totally different pictures. To underline this principle of variation as repetition, hanging in each room we have small-format pictures, in among the series, like counterpoints in music, to make visible the incredibly high number of dimensions that can be discovered in Richter’s work.
There is a catalogue with texts by, among others, Georges Didi-Huberman
and Dieter Schwarz, as well as a conversation between Hans Ulrich Obrist
and Gerhard Richter, to accompany the exhibition
Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dieter Schwarz: Gerhard Richter: Bücher:
Buchhandlung Walther König 2013
Gerhard Richter, 18 May until 7 September, in the Fondation Beyeler,
Hans Ulrich Obrist is curator and co-director of the Serpentine Galleries
THANKS TO http://blog.dasmagazin.ch/2014/05/17/gerhard-richter-series/