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St John belongs to a series called the ‘London Paintings’, each named after one of the chapels of Westminster Abbey. The titles are not meant to be descriptive, but refer merely to associations connected with the artist’s visits to London. Since 1980 Richter has made his abstract paintings by manipulating spatulas of different lengths, loaded with paint, across areas of the canvas. New layers of colour cover earlier ones. Richter’s inability to control the precise distribution of paint allows a degree of chance to determine the paintings’ final appearance.

April 2007