Monday, 29 August 2011

Gerhard Richter's painting about 911, in Tate Modern exhibition

Gerhard Richter, 'September' oil on canvas, 2003
This painting, commemorating the 911 attack on the Twin Towers in New York, shall be in the forthcoming show at the Tate Modern (see earlier blog Gerhard Richter: Panorama). Does the painting have a resonance? Does it work as an image of such a tragic event?..

7 comments:

  1. His non-representational fields
    might work better because they
    signify intense emotions.

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  2. And you Maestro Harry Goaz.

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  3. It has an ethereal, haunting beauty, as did many of the images from that day. Is it possible to appreciate the beauty of a dust cloud floating through Manhattan and separate it from the horror of the event which caused it?

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  4. tricky one, have you read Damien Hirst's comments regarding 911? Is the dust cloud of Hiroshima beautiful? Belsen? Exploded space shuttles? i don't think beauty is the word. They are what they are, tragic dust, but not art. I like this Richter painting, because it moves into metaphor, it looks we are winessing the horror, through a window from a circling helicopter?, but they are just abstract strokes..

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  5. Is it abstract? Those two vertical strokes, combined with the title and the commemorative purpose of the painting, surely make it representational. Doesn't abstract mean detached from representation and therefore concerning tone, colour, form, texture etc? Seen through the prism of 'abstraction', form, tone, colour can possess beauty regardless of the cause. Can dust really be tragic, as you say?

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  6. that's an interesting point Jason, but I am talking about the four horizontal 'abstract' 'transparent' brush strokes, they do not represent anything else but themselves, they are acting as marks, gestures, nuances, adding a counterpoint to the otherwise representational (vertical) quality of the painting, and I think making it more interesting, adding a 'frisson', where it is not just a photorealist painting but has an 'objectness' to it. in my view abstraction isn't a 'detachment' but an 'engagement' with reality, the abstraction has made this painting...regarding dust, Goya painted reality and made it 'beautiful', but the reality he painted, carnage and human suffering wasn't beautiful, dust containing human fragments is tragic, not art...anyway, shall we go and see the show?

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