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Gerhard Richter

Tapestries

May 30–July 27, 2013
Davies Street, London

Installation view Artworks © Gerhard Richter 2013, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artworks © Gerhard Richter 2013, photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view Artworks © Gerhard Richter 2013 Photo by Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artworks © Gerhard Richter 2013 Photo by Mike Bruce

Works Exhibited

Gerhard Richter, MUSA, 2009 Jacquard woven, 108 11/16 × 148 131/6 inches, rolled (276 × 378 cm)© Gerhard Richter 2013

Gerhard Richter, MUSA, 2009

Jacquard woven, 108 11/16 × 148 131/6 inches, rolled (276 × 378 cm)
© Gerhard Richter 2013

About

Gagosian Gallery presents a group of four tapestries entitled Abdu, Iblan, Musa, and Yusuf (all 2009) by Gerhard Richter.

These works are based on Abstract Painting (724-4) (1990), a key example of Richter’s distinctive approach to non-representational painting. The visual effect of the tapestries is a Rorschach-like multiplying of the forms and colors of the original canvas.

Woven on a mechanical jacquard loom, each tapestry repeats four times the image of one quadrant of the painting. Somewhat surprisingly, the painterly, stochastic qualities of the original translate onto the loom’s digital iterations. Though derived from the same painting, each of the four tapestries surprises and dazzles with its own complex symmetries. In Abdu, a cobalt blue supernova erupts into a sea of overlapping reds, mixed whites, and yellows; while Iblan is a layered vision of lilacs and midnight blues that emanates from a bright white center. Within a delicate red top-layer, some marks appear to have been finger-painted; given such refined illusions of gesture it is easy to forget that the works do not employ paint at all.

In recent years, Richter’s interests in media-merging and appropriation have resulted in works that multiply and transform his abstract paintings into prints, books, and other paintings. The digitally generated Strip paintings of 2012 are complex manipulations of the same painting from which the four tapestries were produced. But in the tapestries, the continuous probing of the space between painting and photographic reproduction finds resonance in the textures of the artisanal medium, rather than in the smooth depiction of color and speed. Translated from paint to wool, Richter’s distinctive abstraction imbues a traditional medium with new dynamism, while the act of painting itself passes into a parallel tactile realm.

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