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"Eight Grey" in Dusseldorf:
Gerhard Richter’s masterpiece for the Deutsche Guggenheim can now be seen in a large retrospective at the K20




Gerhard Richter: ACHT GRAU,
Exhibition view at Deutsche Guggenheim, 2002
Photo: Mathias Schorman, © Deutsche Guggenheim

Through May 16, the Art Collection of North Rhine-Westphalia is showing a comprehensive exhibition at the K20 consisting of approximately 110 paintings and sculptures by Gerhard Richter; in close cooperation with the artist, a careful selection of paintings from photographs and abstract works has been made spanning every important phase. The show also includes the glass pieces, paintings behind glass, and mirror works.

Along with paintings dating from the 60s onwards, recent works can be seen that have not yet been shown in public: landscapes and figurative motifs as well as abstract works and grey images. The absolute highlight is the large exhibition hall on the ground floor. Here, along with the recently made mural Strontium, which measures more than 9 x 9 meters, Richter is presenting the work group Eight Grey, which was exhibited in 2002 in the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin and has been at home in the Guggenheim Bilbao ever since.

Eight Grey’s eight monumental grey enamel glass plates carry on a theme of Richter’s oeuvre that already began back in the mid-sixties with the monochromes and works on glass. The installation 4 Sheets of Glass from 1967, in which four window-like elements modify spacial perspectives through their vertical rotation, can be considered a precursor in this respect.


Gerhard Richter: ACHT GRAU,
Exhibition view at Deutsche Guggenheim, 2002
Photo: Mathias Schorman, © Deutsche Guggenheim

Similarly, the panels of Eight Grey, originally commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, can also be tilted at various angles. The installation’s eight glass plates are mounted 50 cm. from the wall with the help of steel supports and appear as ambiguous objects hovering on the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and architecture.

The last times Gerhard Richter’s work could be seen in the Rhineland was in 1986 at the Dusseldorf Kunsthalle and in 1993/94 in a retrospective at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn. In 2002/2003, a seminal exhibition in the United States began at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, offering a representative cross-section throughout the artist’s oeuvre. Since that time, the project at the Art Collection of North Rhine-Westphalia is the first comprehensive show of the much-acclaimed artist in Europe.