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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Exhibitions - Gerhard Richter: Panorama - Tate Modern

Star rating – 6/10

This exhibition of the work of Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern spans over five decades of his work, and is a good showcase for the many different and eclectic styles of art which he has used. I went more out of curiosity than a particular interest in the artist, and it was an interesting way to spend an hour or so, but in truth not captivating for me throughout.

His style of photopainting – using actual photos as the basis for pictures – is intriguing and produces some very interesting results. He drags a brush across the black and white image to blur and distort it. His ‘Ferrari’ from 1964 is a great example of this style, and the effect makes the car look like it is moving at speed. Another work in this style is a bit more bizarre, not to say macabre – the oddly titled ‘Tourist (with 2 lions)’ shows a series of photos charting the mauling and death of a man who got into a lions’ cage at a Spanish zoo. That was a bit too weird for my tastes.

Some of his landscapes are dramatic and compelling, capturing the atmosphere of the moment on large canvasses beautifully. And some of his works have a political bent, either capturing World War II bomb damage in German cities; his uncle Rudi in German army uniform; or the beguiling works depicting the Baader Meinhof group. Richter also powerfully depicted the moment when the planes hit the Twin Towers on 9/11 in ‘September’, although he refused to show the fire ball that accompanied the impact. He is obviously a bold artist who is not afraid to go where others fear to tread – which is never a bad thing.

Some of his more abstract works are a bit lost on me – but the gigantic ‘Silicate’ from 2003 is impressive in its scale and tone. Apparently he listened to the music of John Cage when producing some of his work – some may say the results are suitably fitting.

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