The first major exhibition in Australia of work by Gerhard Richter – one of the world’s most influential artists – was shown exclusively at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from 14 October 2017 until 4 February 2018.
‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ was a rare opportunity for Australians to experience the scope of the German artist’s extraordinary practice across six decades and its influence on contemporary art. This exhibition reveals the depth and technical virtuosity of Richter, who operates between the twin poles of realism and abstraction. It highlights his endless variation of technique and inventiveness as a painter.
Amongst the works were some of the most compelling, haunting and enigmatic images of our time. They capture Richter’s response to some of modern history’s pivotal events such as the Second World War, the horror of the holocaust and a divided post-war Germany, all of which coincided with the rapid ascendancy of the mechanically reproduced image.
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‘The Life of Images’ demonstrates the diversity and breadth of Richter’s work
The exhibition included intimate family portraits, large-scale abstracts and tapestries, exquisite landscapes, a new and extensive overview of the artist’s life-long archival project Atlas, and the four-part abstract series, Birkenau 2014.
‘The Life of Images’ featured key works from the artist’s personal collection, and pre-eminent public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; TATE, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Art Gallery of New South Wales and National Gallery of Victoria; as well as numerous private collections in Europe and USA.
Richter, born in Germany in 1932 remained deeply committed to the exploration of the life of images in his practice. With a disarming directness, Richter’s artworks give a place to controversial events and the politics surrounding them. He is an enormously influential contemporary artist whose work confirms the ongoing relevance and power of painting as an art form.
Go on a journey from intimate and moving portraits of the artist’s children to the Birkenau suite, which weighs up questions that have privately shadowed the artist since his own childhood experience of World War Two.
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‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images‘ was at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from 14 October 2017 until 4 February 2018 and featured over 90 works from six decades of Richter’s career. Drawn from major museum and private collections, as well as Richter’s own personal archive, the exhibition provided a unique opportunity to view the diverse range of his exploration of painting.
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Featured image detail: Gerhard Richter / Abstract painting (726) 1990 / Oil on canvas / 2 canvases / Collection: Tate. Purchased 1992 / © Gerhard Richter 2017