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Digital Print, 2014
Unsigned Print Edition of 500
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
This 2014 print is the work of German artist Gerhard Richter. Entitled Blumenstrauß (P3), the unsigned digital print was issued in an edition of 500. Made after an example of Richter’s abstract paintings, the work is marked for its deconstructive relationship to photographic representation.
This original print evokes Richter’s innovative elision of the boundaries separating painting and photography. To create the original work after which the print was made, Richter projected a photograph of a vase filled with flowers onto a canvas. Rather than tracing the contours of the photographic image onto the canvas surface, Richter focused solely on colour, transcribing tones - as he saw them - onto his medium with scant attention to likeness or the accurate representation of form. The end result, visible in Blumenstrauß (P3), is a hybrid image that bears traces of Richter’s photorealist paintings, such as Elisabeth II (1966), Besetztes Haus (Squatter’s House) (1990) and Orchid II (1998), and abstract, squeegee-based works, such as those assembled in the Cage Grid series.
Blurring and photography have long been central to Richter’s artistic œuvre. Commenting on his reasoning behind his world-famous blur technique, Richter once confessed: “I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsmanlike but technological, smooth and perfect. I blur things to make all the parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess of unimportant information.” Photography - the ultimate conveyor of detail and visual information - came into Richter’s life during the 1950s, when he visited the allied-controlled segment of Berlin. Shocked by vibrant visual and artistic cultures of the kind that did not exist inside the Soviet sphere of influence, one exhibition had a huge effect on him. Named The Family of Man, Richter credited it with introducing him to the ‘power’ of photography. “They told so much about modern life, about my life,” Richter once recalled, thinking about the exhibition’s photographs.