At the press conference for Gerhard Richter: Panorama a familiar question came up: What is the future of painting?
The questioner went on to set the context of painting being thought of as a dying medium. Though painting has survived and evolved from cave painting to today, more than any other medium, we seem determined to analyse it. The question is painting dead? has been asked for roughly a century, and yet we remain fascinated by what the use or meaning of painting might be, and perhaps most importantly what place painting should hold in our society.
As a painter, Richter is conscious of his connection to the art historical tradition of painting, but he also states that there is a gap separating him from the traditions of the past. This simultaneous connection and disconnection leads him to constantly question painting as a medium and as a practice. What are its capacities and limits? What are its private and public roles? What is painting’s relationship to photography?
Through this constant questioning, as Nicholas Serota said, Richter has pushed the boundaries of painting far beyond what we might have thought possible, and continues to do so.
So how did Richter answer? What is the future of painting? Richter replied that pushing the boundaries was no longer his task; it was the task of future generations of painters.
How does that fit with your view?
What or who do you see as pushing the boundaries of painting?
And why do you think painting continues to be noted as a dying form?