OverPainted Photographs

Gerhard Richter

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Richter began to produce these small-scale works by smearing, mostly at the end of a working day; some of the paint left on one of his squeegees – the large-scale spatulas with which he drags great volume of paint accross the canvas to achieve his signature blur – onto the surface of photographs he keeps in this studio. This connects the photographic images, mostly snapshots taken by the artists himself, in a very immediate and physical way with his paintings. The majority of photographs adhere to a standard size of approximately 10×15 cm, the same size Richter also employed in War Cut. The subjects cover a similar range to that Richter ‘s painting based on photographs: mountain ans seascapes, cities and landscapes, self and family portaits and images of friends as well as anonymous crowds of people. On the whole, they have an everyday, if not idyllic, quality to them , circling the same cosmos of holiday mementoes, treasured private moments and records of a personal life that many of us use photography both to construct and to freeze frame. Noticeably, these are few excpetional subjects and no images that would carry a particular message or that would appear burdened by the gravitas of what they depict; no sites imprinted with the traces of German History, no images of particular celebrities or of dramaturgical scenarios – just an ordinary personal universe.

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Source :
Botho Strauss, Siri Hustvedt, Markus Heinzelmann, Gerhard Richter, Gerhard Richter : Overpainted Photographs, Ostfildern, Hatje Kantz, 2009