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Monday, 24 October 2011

Capitlist realism

Gerhard Richter Tate Modern

Gerhard Richter was a contemporary of Andy Warhol, he rejected the expressive abstract art of the time and worked from photos or magazines, travel brochures. He called his practise 'Capitalist Realism' his subjects were luxury items or everyday objects he was also later influenced by news items such as the twin towers bombing and historical political figures such as the Baader Meinhof group and the Nazis.

I am interested by how he was affected by other artists. He saw Duchamp's work and then through his painting of Ema distanced himself from Duchamp's claim of the limitation of paint. in Ema he created a sensitive work depicting his wife i wonder if the fact he rejected drawing for the most part suggests that he simply used paint in a direct way, he was very skilled at its manipulation and therefore you could say his paintings were elaborate drawings.

Boyce made his Fat chair and a year later Richter responded with Stool in profile 1965. He adopting the colours of 60's common in the Pop art movement through his colour charts and set a contrast to the colour harmonies used by Bauhaus artist Josef Albers.Richter slightly confuses me as he preferred to make work without feeling or emotion in a mechanical and ordered way. Yet some of his work appears gestural and sensitive. I particularly like his graphite drawings from 1990 in room 11. There are not many and it seems that he wasn't a fan of drawing for a long time, he is very good at it, both representational and abstract.

Walking round 'panorama' feels a bit like I am wearing someone else's glasses; many of Richter's paintings are blurred deliberately afterwards with dry brushwork, this gives a sense of movement and obliteration. Covering up is a key element in his work eg table. 1962. This interests me as I cannot help covering up elements of my work. Though his method is more about distortion than blocking out. The idea that the layers cannot work individually but blend to create a vibrant surface.
This is also seen in his glass installation made of 6 panes leaning against the wall, reflections in them change depending on what is seen on their surface and the layering of the glass obscures the edges of subjects. I squint to try and focus! Yet his mirror piece is the antithesis. I feel uncomfortable looking at it as it's very clearly me reflected.

Richter has always posed questions about vision, asking whether perception enables or confuses our understanding of the world. (Tate exhibition booklet)

The work that resonated with me was in room 13. In 2001 and beyond he made several quite small paintings on aludibond. To me these are each both drawing and painting in one. The marks made by the paint and in the paint, the 'leaving out' creating space and time for me to draw lines in my head and read into each surface that which resonates with me is exciting and I have an immediate connection. I like that there are three, their dimensions, materials and execution all balance and cohabit the wall in harmony. This where the energy and life of the exhibition is for me.

I think I want to explore working with 3 images, triangulating a particular point. To try and define that point through the relationship and connection of the 3. This could be from figurative or landscape subjects. Haptic and performative.

Tacita Dean
Film in turbine hall, this is massive. I would call this a moving drawing it brilliantly plays with image and colour, space and time and it's scale and method of production is staggering. Go and see it. I am not familiar with her work but really liked this.

Jerwood drawing competition.
I also visited the Jerwood Space drawing competition, which quite frankly I found dull, due to the prevalence of pencil drawing. Come on! This is 2011. But two pieces saved it for me, one was a piece of performance drawing on video of two people lying opposite and touching at the knees and head and both drawing in the space left between them, it created an intimate and expressive peice of work that clearly had a relationship to. The bodies and their proximity the energy between the different points was tangeable for example between the knees it was confined, sounded hard and was distant from the artists but between the face and groins it was was fraught with tension humour and sexuality, between the stomach there was most space and it was free and circular. Really fascinating!The other piece I liked was a drawing of the inside of a mouth, called Mouthful of triangles, it was drawn on the inside cover of a book and triangles collaged into the open cavity. I had a real sense of a mouth full of awkward shapes, it was fun but also clostraphobic, like my mouth was too full and i was choking. Haptic.

I tried to find the exact mouth with triangles in the show but cannot so here is one like doing so I found out more about Sally Taylor the artist. There's always a silver lining. Or in her case a felt tip!

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