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Signed Print Edition of 22
H 80cm x W 60cm
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This signed lithograph print was issued in an edition of 22 in 2000. The work of German artist Gerhard Richter, it belongs to the artist’s Photography collection. An aerial photograph taken on the same date referenced by its title, the work depicts the bombed-out ruins of southern Cologne, Germany.
As if snatched from the clutches of Richter’s immense visual archive, or Atlas - a life-spanning collection of found images, personal and family photographs, and newspaper cuttings - Bridge 14 Feb 45 is rich with a sense of the artist’s career-long interest in history and memory. Made after an aerial reconnaissance photograph taken during one of the most intense days of World War Two bombing ever to take place, this print references both Richter’s place of birth - Dresden - and his adoptive home of Cologne. Depicting the pock-marked topography of the West German city of Cologne in the aftermath of allied air raids, the work references the date on which Dresden, in East Germany, was also subject to fierce bombardment by the Royal and American air forces. Eminently abstract, this view of the south of Cologne is quite unlike that which would normally be offered by a photograph; clarity lacks, the arteries of major roads, the collapsed Köln-Rodenkirchen bridge, and charred earth offering only an indication of the human impact of the attack.
Verngangenheitsbewältigung - or ‘working through the past’ - is a theme broached most famously in Richter’s 1988 series 18. Oktober 1977, which details the legacy of the West German terror group Die Rote Armee Fraktion - otherwise known as the ‘Baader-Meinhof Gang’ - Richter has long used images to discuss Germany’s traumatic recent history, as well his family’s involvement in it. This print is no different, and as such can be digested alongside other historically-charged works, such as Hund (1965) or Bahnhof Hannover (1967). The original work currently hangs inside a Cologne church.