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Currently shown
Gerhard Richter

AB Mediation

Artist

Gerhard Richter
Born in Dresden in 1932

Title

AB Mediation

Date

1986

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

320 x 400 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Volunteer Association Fund, inv. 1987.8

Collection

International Contemporary Art

In 1961, the year the Berlin Wall went up, Richter left Dresden to settle in Düsseldorf, West Germany. There he met artists Polke and Fischer-Lueg with whom he founded Capitalist Realism. He brought to painting such images of the banality of the contemporary world as were found in numerous iconic sources, such as advertising flyers, magazines and family photographs. Throughout his long and prolific career, Richter has displayed a critical fascination for the ways in which images are constructed, an interest that led him to explore abstraction and figuration in like measure, giving him a unique position in the history of twentieth-century painting. "Since there is no such thing as absolute rightness and truth, we always pursue the artificial, leading, human truth", he noted in 1962. This painting belongs to the group of "Free Abstracts" that the artist worked on in the mid-1980s. An apparent offshoot of the gestural abstraction Richter had admired during his years of academic training, this magnificent diptych is in fact the result of the artist's analytical approach. Its violent explosion of colours is attenuated by the mechanical application of paint, while certain methodically brushed-on areas of the surface suggest the effects of a landscape viewed through an out-of-focus camera lens - a sign of the preponderance of photography in Richter's work.

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