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Digital Print, 2014
Unsigned Print Edition of 500
H 50cm x W 40cm
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Jasper Tordoff, Acquisition Coordinator
Issued in 2014, this unsigned print is part of German visual artist Gerhard Richter’s Flow series. Released in an edition of 500, Bagdad (P9) is made after an example of Richter’s abstract painting that showcases the artist’s brief experimentation with diluted oil paints and surface tension.
Wholly dissimilar from works in the Cage Prints, Cage f.ff and Cage Grid series, Bagdad (P9) is an altogether more fluid affair. A vibrant, pulsating assemblage of bright, ‘classic’ colour, the work comprises a complex interplay between varying hues of blue, red, yellow, and green. The product of chemical and creative alchemy, the work contrasts with others in the Flow series, such as Flow (P7) and Flow (P4), for its use of all primary and secondary colours. As such, it has more in common with another work referencing the city of Baghdad, Bagdad (P10).
Oil paints were pioneered by Dutch artists during the 13th century. Mixing natural pigments with linseed oil, the likes of Jan van Eyck found that paint became more malleable. Importantly, it also stayed wet for longer, an attribute that allowed it to be worked and re-worked for several days after its first application. Always in dialogue with art historical tradition, here Richter is seen to take the creative boundaries afforded by oil paint and stretch them much further than first thought. Creating an image reminiscent of 19th-century ink marbling, paint is allowed to flow freely across the page and interact with other, often clashing colours. The independence of colour in this work accords Richter’s print a certain dynamism that is inimitable with the human hand - or indeed the large-scale, home-made ‘squeegee’.