19
Apr
12

Exhibition: ‘Gerhard Richter. Atlas’ at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Exhibition dates:  4th February – 22nd April 2012

.

“I see countless landscapes, photograph barely one in 100,000, and paint barely 1 in 100 of those that I photograph,”

.
Gerhard Richter, 1986

.

“If the grids of art are about arrangement, synchronic vision, connections and knowledge, a standing back to grasp a pattern, then the grids of life are just as much about chance, disconnections among the connections, and the inability of the elements within the grid to perceive, and know, the larger patterns of which they are a part, so that it is only a ‘higher’ consciousness standing outside the grid that will be able to see it all (with or without understanding it). How you know and form a grid depends on whether you are inside or outside it. You can ‘form’ a grid both actively and passively, wittingly and unwittingly – either by simply being part of a grid or by actually assembling one… The grid becomes a potentially totalizing system with which reality (the real of experience as well as the real of the mind), another totalizing system, must endlessly play its games of elusiveness and containment, chaos and order, freedom and necessity.”

.
Aveek Sen. “The Grid and More,” on Still Searching: An Online Discourse on Photography. 7th April 2012

.

.
Meaning arises out of context – or the lack of it. Unlike the grids of the Bechers which promote multiple ways of seeing and construct narrative tension these images do not increase the photographic narrative. They are like the parrots, finches or scarab beetles in a display case at a natural history museum  – part of a taxonomic classification system, where one out of a thousand is the most impressive beetle, the bird with the brightest plumage, where the composition is the most surprising. Multiples as collected here are fascinating but emerge from a slightly obsessive mind (which any collectors mind is!)

This photomontage of impressions, ground and movement blurs the history and memory embedded in each photograph. The assemblage of all these visions ranges far and wide but ultimately collapses time and space into one huge universal snapshot. As in advertising imagery the individual documentary-style images mean relatively little – it is the overall impression that impinges on the consciousness. If you watch MTV and stop to analyse the individual images in a pop video you soon acknowledge their vacuousness. The context of the singular image is lost. In this display the grid controls the photographs position relative to each other and the viewer – a compositional design matrix that has a symbolic function. The grid both decontextualises and recontextualises the floating signifier.

Richter obviously uses them as an aide-memoire. Some remind me of the folded photographs found in Francis Bacon’s studio; others Bacon’s portraits of blurred bodies; yet more, ethnographic mappings of Indigenous bodies or criminals cut out of newspapers. Others remind me of Surrealist experiments and the colour photographs the paintings of Gerhard Richter. Funny about that…

They may be the source material of a great artist but in this regimented form of prosaic knowledge they become like bugs caught in amber.

.
Many thankx to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

.

Installation photograph of Gerhard Richter. Atlas
Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau
Photograph: David Brandt, 2012
© Gerhard Richter Archive, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

.

.

Installation photograph of Gerhard Richter. Atlas
Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau
Photograph: David Brandt, 2012
© Gerhard Richter Archive, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 68. Photo experiment
1969
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Portrait of Gerhard Richter
1966
© Gerhard Richter, Köln 2012

.

.

“In celebration of Gerhard Richter’s 80th birthday, the Gerhard Richter Archive of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden presents the ATLAS of the artist in the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau. The ATLAS takes a prominent role in the oeuvre of Gerhard Richter. It is the basis of many of his paintings just as it is an artwork in its own right. The ATLAS consists of approximately 800 framed panels with more than 15,000 photographs, newspaper clippings, sketches and designs, which Richter had accumulated for work in his studio from the early 1960s onwards. In 1972, he ordered and arranged the collection on boards and presented it under the title ATLAS for the first time. Ever since then, he has continuously added new material. The conceptual character of the ATLAS offers unique insights into the mindset of the artist, into the development of some ideas for works as well as into the creational process of several of his paintings.

Gerhard Richter’s ATLAS merits a special place within his oeuvre as a whole. It not only forms the basis of his entire work as a painter but is also an autonomous artwork in its own right. Born in Dresden on 9th February 1932, Richter has been constantly revising and augmenting this “work in progress” for more than four decades.

ATLAS may be seen as an accompaniment, commentary and extension of the entire oeuvre of Gerhard Richter, for it also develops its own perspectives and poses its own questions. ATLAS is Richter’s reflection not only on his own work but also on the everyday world of images that he himself has documented photographically in their thousands. “I see countless landscapes, photograph barely one in 100,000, and paint barely 1 in 100 of those that I photograph,” Richter wrote in 1986. This photographed, yet and seemingly inexhaustible flood of images has afforded Richter a concentrated, ready accessibility of motifs for his future works. Indeed, for some of his paintings, he has been able to draw upon old motifs in his ATLAS, some of them dating back more than a decade.

The accompanying artist’s book “ATLAS” is not just intended as a means of documenting the exhibition. Gerhard Richter sees it as an alternative presentation to the exhibited panels, one that permits an additional, different, non-linear approach to the material. By 1964, Richter had collected a vast amount of pictorial source material for his painting, first keeping it in drawers and portfolios. Five years later he began to sift through this material with a critical eye, grouping the individual photographs, reproductions and sketches into different themes and pasting them onto separate panels. Richter then soon recognized the intrinsic artistic quality of these collections of source material and, in 1972, framed the panels and exhibited them at the Museum Hedendaagse Kunst in Utrecht under the title ATLAS. Meanwhile this repository of source material has grown from its original 343 panels to its present 783, with more than 8,000 individual motifs.”

Press release from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden website

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 9. Photographs of papers and books etc
1962-68
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 5. Album Photos
1962-68
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 58. Double exposure
Nd
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 422. Baysricher forest
1982
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 13. Photographs of papers and books etc
1964-67
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Gerhard Richter
Atlas. Plate 31 for 48 Portraits
1971
© Gerhard Richter 2011

.

.

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Residenzschloss Taschenberg 2
01067 Dresden Germany

Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau opening hours:

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Mondays

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top



Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

Join 2,180 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Lastest tweets

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

April 2012
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Archives

Categories


%d bloggers like this: