Understanding Richter: The Order of Things
Gerhard Richter has addressed the manner in which his oeuvre is perceived and understood through the rigorous documentation of his paintings, drawings, sculpture, editions and their source material in the catalogue raisonné and Atlas. The former was initiated in 1963 as a list compiled and typed by the artist. It was revised in 1969 as a “second order of representation” in response to the conceptual and minimalist art tendencies of the time.
The first edition of the catalogue raisonné was released as a limited run of 100 offset lithographs. Updated versions have been published in conjunction with major exhibitions in 1972, 1993 and 2005. A new edition is due for release in four days time.
The Atlas came about in response to Richter’s “desire for order and a clear presentation” of the vast amount of source material he had accumulated. It has acted as a filter of an abundance of images to a manageable collection of useful images. It has also served to extend to Richter’s audience, an understanding of his processes and to illuminate the rigorous, but open-ended nature of his thinking
Both the catalogue raisonné and Atlas are now published in digital form on gerhardrichter.com. In order to promote a developed understanding of Richter’s methods and outputs, students were asked to make a comprehensive survey of the contents of the catalogue and Atlas and re-present a selection of Richter’s paintings in a precisely ordered, printed array. Specific criteria were developed and employed for both the selection and ordering of images.
These criteria included chronology, position in catalogue raisonné, title, subject matter, size, colour, technique employed, where the source material is archived in the Atlas, price sold at auction, institution where held, the amount of times work has been exhibited, missing works and many more. The extent of the selection was determined by the conceptual or visual criteria used.
Reproductions of Gerhard Richter's paintings were accessed from gerhardrichter.com.