October 17, 2012
While taking in some art last weekend, Marc was struck by the at once artful and dizzying bands of color that make up Gerhard Richter‘s Strips show at the Marian Goodman Gallery. No doubt, Richter’s Strips evoke memories for Marc of Paul Smith’s iconic stripes — an aesthetic that has inspired and informed a number of his style decisions over the years.
These aren’t paintings. To create such a near infinite density of color and lines by hand would be really hard if not impossible. Rather, the Strips series consists of one-of-a-kind digital prints produced via an elaborate process of computer generated machinations and based on a single abstract Gerhard Richter painting circa 1990.
Gerhard Richter is currently the world’s top-selling living artist. He is eighty years old and has been painting since he was an art student in East Germany in the late 1940’s. His work, over the past half-century, ranges from photo-realism to abstract art, from photography to sculpture. For his latest gallery show — at the Marian Goodman gallery — he claimed to lack the “time and quietness” for painting. Instead he took a reproduction of the 1990 painting and started to play with it. He split a digital image of the painting in half and merged it with its mirror image. He then continued to divide the image into smaller and smaller fragments until the final geometric progression of four-thousand-ninety-sixths yielded the detail you see here. At this level of abstraction, any patterns that might have developed along the way are reduced to razor thin bands of color. Richter then took the horizontal groupings of colored bands and assembled them by hand to create a bunch of variations on the theme that became the final pieces for two shows — first in Paris and then here in midtown Manhattan. Patterns, a book on sale at the gallery, exposes the interim patterns that emerged as the original image was fractured.
Richter chose to produce just one digital print of each unique process, priced at $1.5M. And in case you were wondering, the show was completely sold the instant the doors opened on day one!