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Gerhard Richter, "Cage Resimleri (1-6)"

Robert Storr, Gerhard Richter'ın kafes resimleri hakkında konuşuyor. Orijinal video Beth Harris ve Steven Zucker tarafından hazırlanmıştır.

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in i guess it was 2005 to my considerable surprise i was asked to be the director of the venice biennale i was surprised because a native born american has never been asked before i tried to think about what kinds of exhibitions should be made around the biennale what kind of exhibition i should make and in the mix of that thought about well if i'm the first american to do this there will be a lot of thoughts about the americanness of whatever i do and if i were to pick an american artist that i was proud of and that i thought represented positive things who would that artist be not a single person to represent everybody because that's impossible but somebody would be a touchdown although there's no argument that as a painter pollock had profound influence and also beyond painting he was a father of installation art and performance in some ways too or that andy warhol has profound influence the person it seemed to me who had really the most was john cage cage was a cosmopolitan man he worked in multiple mediums and he had attitudes that influenced art in every domain cage is an artist richter first encountered in the early 1960s while a student at the dusseldorf academy in the context of a fluxus festival that was convened more or less by joseph boyce far and away the most compelling of anybody was cage who if i recall performed a piece where he wrote with the microphone attached to the pen so the sound of the pen moving on the surface of the paper was what you heard cage it seems to me was was a reference for richter of a kind of avant-garde practice that he himself didn't follow but that he respected and that he could learn from some years later a friend of gerhart's who was also a friend of jones took john to see an exhibition of gerhart's work and uh what was on display included one of the very large gray paintings that looked like they're finger painted almost with lots of non-directional lines and squiggles and so on and took a wonderful picture of john's standing with this sort of beatific smile in front of one of victor's paintings so although richter and cage didn't ever meet uh in a sense richter saw him on stage but never encountered him uh cage encountered richter's work but never met him although they never met there was this kind of charge current going back and forth something else that's been said which is uh i did not know until just recently was that he was also thinking when paintings about the israeli bombardment of beirut during the most recent wars between israel and lebanon and that puts a whole different cast on what those pictures might be when i wrote the book i used analogies that were essentially landscape analogies for describing this but that was not because i think in any way these are landscape pictures it's because the natural environment is the only source that occurred to me then anyway that would provide the metaphors to describe particular textures and particular colors and particular ways in which the surfaces those paintings move but if you put them all together if there is in the background of a lot of his abstractions a response to nature but not the desire to represent it in any romantic or naturalist way if there is in the back of his thinking a response to cage and to the idea of a composition which comes about without normal kinds of intentionality and that respects accident chance the things that happen in the process of doing something such that in making these paintings richter paints and paints and paints and then chooses to stop and if in the background the harshness of some of these paintings the the surfaces that are that are scored the intensity color also suggests violence at some level and that violence correlating to the news of the fighting in lebanon if all of those things sort of come together then i think you have a relatively good idea if you will of how an artist of richter's caliber is never influenced by anything but feeds on everything uses everything a friend of mine once said that a genius is somebody who rather like a really good engine burns clean there's no residue and in in richter's case i think that's actually true uh he uses everything and there is no residue uh and and in this case what no residue means is there is ultimately no uh single reference there's no single thing that ties the immediacy to the painting back to something that is not as immediate as the painting so it may uh help to think about these points of reference but the painting is not about them never was and where the painting will take you is not confined to those references either because the kinds of thoughts that occur the kind of phenomenological experiences that occur and the subject matters the moods the the tensions are way beyond any particular subject matter if you think about it richter is a very methodical painter and he's developed his method gradually but he's very consistent in his application of it a lot like soloing he's consistent in his application but precisely in order to create results that are not repetitive he starts in the same place plus or minus a particular ingredient or variable he has made many series of paintings by this time he's made many paintings by the process of application scraping back or erasure of paint he's done lots and lots of things but each one of them has a particular tenor has a particular scale and so on now the format that he's used for the cage panes is a format he's used before he's done four and he's done more actually in some cases but the particular number of these paintings is to my knowledge unique at this format and with this surface and so on and for example the bach paintings to which these were juxtaposed when the abstract show was done in cologne and it was very very interesting to see this contrast because the bach paintings are comparatively speaking suave and atmospheric whereas these are gritty and they crackle and they do actually have the sort of visual equivalent of the sound that that cage was always after which was the sound of the prepared premium this kind of percussive uh audio texture rather than audio atmosphere the cage paintings are also intact as a group which is not true of many of his series increasingly he's able to place bodies of work in their entirety but this has only happened within recent years and many of his series have to be reconstituted in bits and pieces i frankly think also the caged paintings even with with the beirut association it has a kind of lift to it i mean some of the greens are strange the the reds and grays can be very very harsh but there is a kind of uh openness to those paintings the surfaces are also opaque the words betray me in a way but i anyway when i walked into that room for the first time felt a kind of lift from them and i think richter is after a kind of exaltation in paintings in general has been looking for that but has always denied himself the easy ways to it he didn't want to be rothko he wanted to be newman and newman is a painter of transcendence whose paintings are oddly enough rather clunky a lot of them and unforgiving and richter's paintings are never clunky but they're quite often unforgiving so it's as if he's he's he's permitting himself only rarely to sort of take off with paintings but when he does he really flies and i think in this group that's actually what happens richter's technical innovations in this area are really remarkable and they're the um extension of a perception made very early on in this career and it's a perception actually almost any painter who's ever picked up a palette knife makes that uh when you scrape a painting to remove a passage that you don't like or you scrape paint off your palette and then wipe it off it makes this smear where all the colors mix and if the colors are relatively fresh it gets a kind of wonderful optical jump to it because of these accidental collisions of different tones and textures rosalyn krause the american art historian who sees everything from a very narrow american perspective and a very art historically uh deterministic perspective uh explained all of this in terms of jasper john's device circle which is a painting where uh john's makes uses a ruler to go around in a circle and spread and smear paint now jasper's a great great great painter but he didn't invent this and he certainly didn't invent it for richter travis's lack of knowledge about richter and her attempt to simply line him up with american painting in the canonical mode uh is an indication of how much of a problem richter has been for artistry generally in this country no i mean the the source of that is one that any artist will do that and the other source is actually a painting called libispar by sigmar polka in which there's this pop image of a couple and then there are these smears of paint on the side and that single use of smeared paint in this manner antidates richter's own use of it richter and polka had the kind of relationship that johnson rauschenberg had i mean they they traded things back and forth they took from each other freely they were intimately connected with each other's work for a very long time in any case richter when he began to develop his work and to first of all think about how to blur the image that was an image originally favored uh fan brushes and big house painting brushes and he would drag it across the fresh paint in order to make the image spread and smear and so on uh to use a palette knife is a more abrupt thing because it actually removes paint at least in the first application and so it's much more like flaying a painting like taking the skin of a painting off but with a knife but as he developed the abstract work it became his dominant mode it was his way of creating large spaces with enormous amounts of activity and frankly with an enormous amount of paint because if you look at paintings like the group that are in in st louis january december november or if you look at any number of paintings before that you'll see a layer upon layer upon layer of very wet very rich oil paint and as the paint is dragged each time some of it sticks and some of it doesn't and as it's dragged again there skips where there's no point of contact for the next layer of paint to go on so if you look at those paintings what you're seeing is number one the juxtaposition of colors that comes with one smear and what you look at again the second time or perceive is that every place where you actually see from the top surface down into a crevice you're also getting the mixes of colors that are down there it's almost like they're in a canyon and you can see this stuff firing off layer by layer by layer all the way up to the surface and it's an extraordinarily efficient way to create an incredible amount of accidental imagery or accidental optical incident and as with cage case used to say you know the thing about accidents is you do choose the ones you want to keep it's not like there's no intention whatsoever the process of arriving at a result is a process you set in motion almost blindly the part that's not blind is the decision once you've made something to keep it or not and in richter's case that's what it's all about and the numbers of layers of paint uh have to do less with the desire to load it up and make some busy physical thing then dissatisfaction with everything that was there previously so he keeps putting it on until something happens that he can then hold on to the one other i think crucial part of this has to do with uh his relation to painting of the 1940s 50s and early 60s that we call abstract expressionist or fomel the general tendency at that time was number one to use brushes and number two to associate the brush mark with some kind of direct transmission to the artist's hand of an emotional content or a structural intention or what have you and then to couple that or link all of that with a kind of signature mark that thing that only that hand would do and so when we look at a de kooning or even look at pollock dripping you know the the old rules of connoisseurship come in you know that is that is pollock's mark that's de kooning's mark or that's for tries mark or that is schumacher's mark or whatever the case might be all of that has to do with the brush or what the cicadas who was mexican painter who was against this kind of art also said the stick with hairs on it what richter has done basically is to reintroduce the gesture without gesturalism to use a tool that makes it impossible to make a signature mark unless of course you think a broad sweep of you know sort of moving lava-like paint is a mark so he's able to surface the work to create movement within the work without for the most part allowing the hand itself to be the protagonist much less the artist whose hand that is the only exceptions to this would be those paintings where he then takes the end of a brush and scores things and makes you know marks within it often i think just to expose the hidden layers at a certain point of the painting there you begin to get a little bit the idea of gesturalism as it was practiced before but by and large it's this other thing it's this it's this process it's this uh willingness to let go of certain kinds of control in order that other things happen you