London – Gerhard Richter at Marian Goodman Through December 20th, 2014

November 24th, 2014

Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed
Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed

Currently on view at Marian Goodman’s freshly inaugurated Mayfair gallery space in London is a new show of paintings and sculpture by Gerhard Richter, works that show the artist expanding his current practice while branching out into new formal space.  

Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed
Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed

Richter’s abstractions of technique and form have continually redefined the space of contemporary painting over the past half-century, exploring techniques of deconstruction and reproduction not merely as inspirational aesthetics, but as methods of creation in their own right, using forced removal of the painted surface or highly precise printing techniques to create paintings that constantly test the limits of canvas, and the notion of the printed surface.  Richter’s practice is remarkably precise, and the result is a group of different practices unified almost exclusively by the artist’s interest in the mechanical.

Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed
Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed

In his newest show, Goodman allows Richter the space to go in all directions at once, with a number of new works from various series on view, as well as a group of older works.  Combining a number of the artist’s Strip pieces, deconstructed and endlessly reproduced slices of digital photography of his own works, with his Flow works, pieces of canvas across which paint is poured at the moment a glass surface is affixed to it, freezing the surface in mid movement.

Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed
Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed

But the exhibition is ultimately defined by the artist’s lone sculpture, 7 Panes of Glass (House of Cards), a rare venture into the medium that ultimately aids in crystallizing much of Richter’s practice over the last 20 years of his career, while simultaneously harking back to his early interests in architecture and context-specific work.  Combining immense panes of clear glass through a series of brackets, the diagonal surfaces bend reflections from visitors, nearby works and the overhead lighting into a swirling, ever-shifting cluster of images.  Almost prismatic in its effects, the piece does a remarkable job of turning Richter’s works loose on themselves, allowing the rigidity of their composition to serve as an input of sorts, constantly processed and reprocessed by the sculpture.

Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed
Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed

Taken as a whole, Richter’s exhibition offers an interesting look at his most recent work, and what could be one of the artist’s most intriguingly connected series of practices.  Combining his investigation into the formal assumptions of his craft with his ongoing fascination with the work as fixed in open space, the exhibition of works comes quite close to a unified theory for the artist’s creative practice.

Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed
Gerhard Richter (Installation View), via Art Observed

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Artist’s Website [Gerhard Richter]
Gerhard Richter at Marian Goodman [Marian Goodman]
“Gerhard Richter: ‘Our times are so unquiet’” [The Guardian]
“Gerhard Richter Recaptures His Youthful Pessimism” [Artnet]
“Gerhard Richter at Marian Goodman Gallery London” [Vernissage TV]