Created by world-leading German visual artist Gerhard Richter, Cage f.ff IV is one of a number of prints concerned with details from the artist’s six-part 2006 painting series, Cage [CR: 897/1-6]. Issued in 2011, the colour offset lithograph print is signed by the artist and part of the Cage f.ff series.
Together with Cage f.ff I, Cage f.ff II, Cage f.ff III, and Cage f.ff V, Cage f.ff IV is a visual testament to Richter’s self-avowed desire to bring about what he has described as the ‘death of painting’. Like its series namesakes, the work speaks to the artist’s inspiration by US composer and avant-gardist, John Cage; demanding what curator and critic Hans Ulrich Obrist describes as an ‘infinite process of looking’, the image refers to an original work created during a period when Richter had been spending hours listening to Cage’s music, famed for its atonality and meditative qualities. Comprising grey, white, blue, and red tones, there is a sense of viscerality and violence in this work that immediately suggests Cage’s influence.
At first sight, Richter’s strict artistic training in socialist realist art, which he received whilst a student at the Dresden Academy, is far removed from this image. Eschewing the representational in favour of the non-representational, however, with this work Richter is sure to index his unorthodox artistic background - and his lifelong revolt against it.