Gerhard Richter’s new show at Marian Goodman Gallery is one of my favourite exhibitions this year, the legendary German painter’s style has developed into some of the most iconic abstract paintings of the modern era. Art Info were luck enough to speak to the artist about his new works… Read the full interview here.
I understand from Benjamin Buchloh’s catalogue essay that these large white paintings began as green paintings?
I always start these abstract paintings very colorful and very free. Everything is possible, there are no rules. I have a vague vision of what I want to get, what I want to show. Then I start, quite easy. With every step, it becomes more difficult, and more unfree. I have to correct and destroy a work and repaint it.
So you never envisioned these as white paintings?
No, I didn’t intend for them to be white paintings. In an interview for my last show of abstract paintings, I said, “The next paintings could be white, because it’s so quiet, like snow. And I’m old enough to make white paintings.” But it was a joke! Of course, in January 2008 at Marian Goodman’s Paris gallery, I did show some small white paintings.
In his essay, Buchloh discusses the various associations white paintings can have — with the idea of reductiveness, the end of painting. And of course there are Rauschenberg’s white paintings, and Ryman’s. Were any of these things on your mind while you worked on yours?
I don’t know the Rauschenberg paintings, but I know Ryman very well, and many others. What I didn’t agree [with Buchloh about] is that white painting is so abstract. I told him even Ryman, who intends to show nothing, gives us associations. I think it’s not possible to avoid giving a cue of something. I would like to look at these paintings the same way I look at photographs. They show something. They are not abstract.
See some of the works on display here.