The renowned German artist Gerhard Richter takes centre stage at David Zwirner’s 24 Grafton Street location in London, unveiling an impressive collection of new and recent works. This showcase marks a significant moment since Richter’s representation by the gallery was announced in December 2022, following his celebrated debut at David Zwirner in New York during the spring of 2023.
Richter’s considered installation is a testament to his enduring exploration of the persistence of perception, emphasising his steadfast commitment to formal and conceptual possibilities within abstraction. The exhibition prominently features three celebrated abstract paintings, a pivotal part of Richter’s oeuvre that predates his shift from oil paint to drawing and installation.
The artist’s dedication to the method and technique in drawing is showcased through an expansive array of new works on paper. These pieces, made with ink or pencil or combined, reflect Richter’s heightened emphasis on the process. The ink drawings, characterised by vivid colour, are created through a unique method of dripping the medium onto paper, allowing unexpected forms to emerge organically.
Conversely, the pencil drawings showcase Richter’s methodical combination of various elements, including meandering lines, broad tonal planes, and passages of smudging and erasure. This meticulous yet generative process unites choice and chance, offering viewers a glimpse into the artist’s nuanced exploration of drawing itself.
The exhibition also includes recent works that underscore Richter’s enduring fascination with the idea of reflection. Large-scale paintings and room-sized installations featuring glass and mirrored surfaces invite contemplation, serving as perpetual sites for creating new, abstract images.
An integral part of the exhibition is Richter’s Spiegel (Mirror) series, initiated in the 1980s, which features wall-mounted panes of glossy tinted glass. These pieces encourage viewers to engage with their immediate surroundings and the reflections within the glass, blurring the lines between reality and abstraction.
Among the noteworthy works on display are vibrant lacquer-behind-glass paintings from 2010 and Richter’s development of the Strip paintings in 2011. Despite their computerised facture, the latter are classified by Richter as “paintings,” challenging the historical implications of the medium while exploring its future possibilities.
Gerhard Richter, born in Dresden, Germany 1932, embarked on his artistic journey in the early 1950s. The artist’s trajectory took a pivotal turn after he escaped from East Germany in 1961, leading him to complete a second course of study at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf.
Since 1964, Richter has been a prominent figure in the art world, with numerous solo exhibitions in renowned galleries and museums globally. His honours include the Golden Lion at the 47th Venice Biennale (1997) and the Praemium Imperiale Award from the Japan Art Association (1997).
The exhibition at David Zwirner’s London location is a captivating journey through Richter’s multifaceted exploration of perception, abstraction, and the enduring possibilities of artistic expression. It serves as a testament to Richter’s unparalleled influence and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of his craft.
The exhibition runs from January 25 to March 28, 2024, at David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London.