photo: SAIKI Taku

Eight Grey

ArtistGerhard RICHTER
Material/ Techniquegrey enamel on glass and steel
Size/ DurationH320×W200×D30cm each (set of 8)
Copyright Notice© Gerhard RICHTER
Year of acquisition/ donation2002
DescriptionBorn in Dresden, Germany in 1932. Lives and works in Cologne.

Gerhard Richter received his art education under the former East German regime, but was strongly influenced by abstract expressionism which he encountered during a trip to West Germany and moved to Düsseldorf six months before the Berlin Wall was erected. In 1962 he unveiled "Table", which was based on a newspaper photograph. Since then the overriding theme of his work has been ‘Schein’ (illusion, appearance, semblance), which he interprets as the foundation reflecting all existence, and he has continually crossed the boundaries between visibility and invisibility, photographs and paintings, reality and fabrication as part of his pursuit of ‘seeing,’ while at the same time applying his masterful painting technique to work in a variety of different styles.

Richter’s career began in earnest with his “Photo-Painting” series, in which he generalizes his subjects by reproducing in oils to a high degree of accuracy black-and-white photographs from newspapers or magazines and applying his hallmark blur. He followed this with his “Colour Charts” series, in which colors are arranged geometrically, and his “Grey Painting” series, which represents the opposite extreme. Other series include “Abstract Painting,” in which he layers different colors that have been combined spontaneously, and “Oil on Photo” series, in which he overlays different media, namely oil paint marks on photographs, in a manner that calls to mind ‘boundaries.’ "Betty" and "Mustangs" are the editions in the form of prints of oil paintings from his “Photo-Painting” series. In "Mustangs", Richter, who often experiments with the conversion/recurrence of existing images, uses a sheet of highly reflective antelio glass to further emphasize the multilayeredness of the image. In "Eight Grey", part of the “Mirror Painting” series, eight giant sheets of grey glass surround the viewer, encouraging the act of ‘seeing.’ This work, in which the reflected images are repeated endlessly in an environment dominated by the color grey, which the artist describes as “neither visible nor invisible,” takes the form of a device that ‘depicts’ all manner of phenomena within nothingness.