Gerhard Richter?s panes of glass and mirrored works are literal reflections on the nature of pictorial representation.
The works in this display belong to a collection of international contemporary art jointly owned by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. It is known as ARTIST ROOMS and focuses on individual rooms devoted to particular artists.
Richter is in many respects a traditional painter, but his work has a strong conceptual core. His paintings are explorations of all the possibilities offered by the medium, whether to reproduce images of reality or to experiment with colours, textures, techniques and gestures. Richter began to use glass in his work in 1967. Like his paintings, these works are concerned with the mechanisms of representation and perception. They are neutral surfaces framing aspects of the world and turning them into pictures. The sculpture 11 Panes 2004 plays with the material?s ability both to be looked through and to reflect. The transparency of each glass pane, leaning against the wall at a different angle, multiplies reflections as distorted forms that keep shifting as one moves closer or further away from the work. The blurring effect recalls that found in Richter?s figurative paintings. A layer of pigment applied to the back of the glass makes Mirror Painting (Grey, 735-2) 1991 reflect reality as a grayscale picture. It relates directly to Richter?s monochrome grey canvases, one of which can be seen in the minimalism room on Level 4.
Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden in 1932; he then moved to West Germany in 1961, settling in Düsseldorf. He has lived and worked in Cologne since 1983.
ARTIST ROOMS was established through The d?Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments, and is being shared with museums and galleries throughout the UK with additional generous support from The Art Fund and the Scottish Government.
Text by Valentina Ravaglia.