Gerhard Richter: Prints

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Open: temporary closure

976 Madison Avenue, NY 10075, New York Upper East Side, USA
Open: temporary closure


Gerhard Richter: Prints

New York

Gerhard Richter: Prints
to Sat 15 Feb 2020
temporary closure

I can make no statement about reality clearer than my own relationship to reality.
—Gerhard Richter

Gagosian presents an exhibition of editioned works by Gerhard Richter spanning fifty years.


Gagosian 976 Madison Avenue Gerhard Richter 1

Gagosian 976 Madison Avenue Gerhard Richter 2

Gagosian 976 Madison Avenue Gerhard Richter 3

Gagosian 976 Madison Avenue Gerhard Richter 4

Gagosian 976 Madison Avenue Gerhard Richter 5

Throughout his distinguished career, Richter has remained at the forefront of contemporary abstraction and image making, embracing technological advancements and harnessing found imagery in groundbreaking ways. Richter’s editions—often based on his own paintings and photographs—are central to his practice. He modifies details and sometimes entire compositions from his oeuvre, producing artworks that are simultaneously self-referential and new. Divergent in medium, scale, and style, the editions mirror Richter’s chameleonic artistic processes and explore the ever-changing relationship between source image and pictorial representation.

Many of Richter’s prints are based on personal photographs. Hund (Dog) (1965), his earliest edition, was produced by sweeping a paintbrush across a still-damp screenprint of the family dog; blurred with a visible texture from the brush hairs, the resulting image is a print that simultaneously references painting and photography. Richter also photographed newspaper illustrations, altering them to simulate the appearance of industrial print media. In Flugzeug I (Airplane I) (1966), he purposely misaligned the screenprint’s two layers of gray ink, mimicking the common error of off-register printing. Other early works, such as the offset print Elizabeth II (1966), were intentionally printed with shifted plates, celebrating the aesthetic of the moiré pattern.

Betty (1991) poses questions of identity and faithfulness to reality in portraiture and printmaking. Titled after Richter’s daughter, who is depicted in a floral robe turning her head away from the viewer, Betty is layered in mimesis: it is offset printed from a photograph of Richter’s iconic 1988 painting of the same name, whose own subject was originally captured on the artist’s camera. Richter’s portrait speaks with the intimate visual language of a family photograph, yet its repeated technical mediations prevent any psychological connection with its blurry, faceless subject.

In 1993, as a special project for the international journal Parkett, Richter produced Grün-Blau-Rot (Green-Blue-Red), a sequential series of unique small paintings according to a basic chromatic principle. He applied the same three vivid oil-based pigments onto 115 uniformly sized canvases with a squeegee, employing the regimented process of his Abstraktes Bilder series, which allows for the relatively uncontrolled interaction of color. Made by the artist’s own hand without the restraining grid of the printing process, each work exists as a unique variation on the same theme.

Richter’s oeuvre continues to function as a creative springboard in his 2011 series of Strips. To create these large-scale inkjet prints, he digitally divided his oil-on-canvas Abstract Painting (724-4) (1990) into 4,096 vertical segments. Segments were then randomly selected and repeated until they lengthened out into thin horizontal strips of uniform color, allowing a single painting to spawn multiple new images. Clean and crisp, appearing as a sort of horizontal barcode, the Strips subvert their painterly origins with an air of modern detachment. Richter’s impulse to modify and reinterpret his own works resurfaces in Cage Grid (2011), a series of inkjet prints created by dividing a photograph of his 2006 oil painting Cage 6 into a four-by-four grid of squares.

Gerhard Richter: Prints, 2019, installation view © Gerhard Richter 2019 (20112019). Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian.

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