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Digital Print, 2014
Unsigned Print Edition of 500
H 50cm x W 40cm
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Issued in 2014 in an edition of 500, this unsigned print is the work of venerated and prolific German visual and conceptual artist, Gerhard Richter. Part of the Flow series, which focuses on abstract works completed between 2014 and 2016, this digital print showcases a methodological variation in Richter’s abstract painting in this period.
A far cry from Richter’s abstract works of the 1970s, such as Abstraktes Bild (P1), Bagdad (P10) is a digital print that sees Richter allow his oil paints to guide themselves. Rather than dragging them across the canvas surface, as in the Cage Prints, Cage f.ff and Cage Grid series, here Richter dilutes paint before applying it to a flat surface. Giving the Flow series its name, this practice accords this work with an unrivalled sense of movement and dynamism. Recalling the marbling effect championed by publishers during the 19th century, the work is a bright, fluid assemblage of pure chemical colour. A work of creative alchemy, it is amongst Richter’s best works.
Born in 1932, Richter is famed for his destructive approach to artistic tradition and painting. At the heart of the artist’s thinking is the theme and method of what he calls ‘chance’. Chance encapsulates error and ‘happy accidents’, and allows the work to have just enough mistakes in it that it can be transformed into something that is ‘complete’. Commenting on his process, Richter once said: “If, while I'm painting, I distort or destroy a motif, it is not a planned or conscious act, but rather it has a different justification: I see the motif, the way I painted it, is somehow ugly or unbearable. Then I try to follow my feelings and make it attractive. And that means a process of painting, changing or destroying – for however long it takes – until I think it has improved. And I don't demand an explanation from myself as to why this is so.”