6 October 2011 – 8 January 2012 (Press View: 4 October 2011)
Tate Modern, Level 4
Gerhard Richter (born 1932) is widely regarded as one of the most important artists working today. Spanning nearly five decades, and coinciding with the artist’s 80th birthday, Gerhard Richter: Panorama is a major retrospective that will group together significant moments of his remarkable career.
Since the 1960s, Gerhard Richter has immersed himself in a rich and varied exploration of painting. Continually challenging the relevance of the medium, his practice has encompassed a diverse range of techniques and ideas. Gerhard Richter: Panorama will highlight the full extent of the artist’s oeuvre. It will include realist paintings based on photographs, colourful gestural abstractions such as the squeegee paintings, portraits, subtle landscapes and history paintings. Richter also works with other media and materials to address the status of painting, for instance over-painting his own photographs or photographing details of his own paintings. Punctuating the exhibition will be a series of glass constructions from 1960s, 1970s and 2000s and mirror works that Richter began making in the 1980s.
Gerhard Richter was one of the first German artists to reflect on the history of National Socialism, creating paintings of family members who had been members, as well as victims of, the Nazi party. In the late 1980s, looking back to the history of radical political activity in West Germany in the 1970s, he produced the 15-part work October 18 1977 1988, a sequence of black and white paintings based on images of the Baader Meinhof group. Richter has continued to respond to significant moments in history throughout his career. The final room of the exhibition will include September 2005, a painting of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001.
Gerhard Richter: Panorama will include a rarely-shown painting of the Alps from 1968 as well as a magisterial triptych of Cloud paintings from the early 1970s. The Skull and Candle paintings from the 1980s will be shown alongside paintings of icebergs and mountainscapes testifying to Richter’s admiration of German Romantic painting. A highlight of the exhibition will be a range of Richter’s portraits, including intimate images of friends and family. The painted busts of himself and his friend, the artist Blinky Palermo will feature as well as paintings such as Ema (Nude on a Staircase) 1966 depicting his first wife descending a staircase; Betty 1988 a portrait of his daughter and Reader 1994, a painting of his young wife.
Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden in 1932 and after training in the East, moved to West Germany in 1961. He was part of a group of painters working in Düsseldorf, that included Sigmar Polke and Konrad Lueg, who turned to image-based painting having explored the emergence of American Pop art. As well as tackling the relationship of painting to the photographic image, Richter also confronted the situation of painting after Marcel Duchamp and the complex legacies of Modernist abstract art.
Gerhard Richter: Panorama is curated by Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, and Mark Godfrey, Curator, Tate Modern with Amy Dickson, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, where it will be curated by Udo Kittleman and Dorothee Brill, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, where it will be curated by Alfred Pacquement and Camille Morineau. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major new catalogue.