Gerhard Richter Painting
Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space
2011. Germany. Corinna Belz. 97 min. Color. Documentary.
Toronto International Film Festival Official Selection
"Magnificent and evocative...as close as cinema gets to tracking the impulses and paradoxes of a gifted imagination." - Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
"Thrilling...akin to being in a museum that's come alive." - Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment
"Fascinating, even exciting...Mr. Richter communicates a pleasure in work, even at its most laborious." - Rachel Saltz, The New York Times
"A stunning experience...bound to draw the attention of the art world everywhere." - Dan Fainaru, Screen International
"A gorgeously rendered work of art. Offers fascinating insight...and a mesmerizing survey of [Richter's] complete oeuvre." - Alissa Simon, Variety
"A must-see for followers of contemporary painting...one of the most important living painters shows how he does it." - John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
One of the world's greatest living painters, the German artist Gerhard Richter has spent over half a century experimenting with a tremendous range of techniques and ideas, addressing historical crises and mass media representation alongside explorations of chance procedures. Infamously media-shy, he agreed to appear on camera for the first time in 15 years for a 2007 short by filmmaker Corinna Belz called Gerhard Richter's Window.
Her follow-up, Gerhard Richter Painting, is exactly that: a thrilling document of Richter's creative process, juxtaposed with intimate conversations (with his critics, his collaborators, and his American gallerist Marian Goodman) and rare archive material. From our fly-on-the-wall perspective, we watch the 79-year-old create a series of large-scale abstract canvasses, using fat brushes and a massive squeegee to apply (and then scrape off) layer after layer of brightly colored paint. This mesmerizing footage, of a highly charged process of creation and destruction, turns Belz's portrait of an artist into a work of art itself.
In his forward to the catalog of a 2002 retrospective of Richter's work at New York's Museum of Modern Art, Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the museum, wrote: "No artist of the postwar era...has placed more intriguing and rigorous demands upon specialists, interpreters, followers, and average viewers alike - nor upon himself. In Richter's work...there is a demonstration of the way in which painting's resources are constantly replenished by the very problems it seems to pose, both for the painter and the viewer. Nobody in our time has posed them better or solved them more inventively than Richter."