The first major exhibition in Australia of work by Gerhard Richter – one of the world’s most influential artists – will show exclusively at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from 14 October 2017 until 4 February 2018.
Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said 'Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images' was the first exhibition of its kind in Australia and was developed by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) with works sourced from leading museums and private collections around the world.
''Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images' represents an extraordinary chance for Queenslanders and visitors to our state to enjoy the work of one of the greatest artists of our time,’ the Premier said.
‘I’m thrilled an exhibition of this calibre has been developed and presented here in Queensland – it further reinforces GOMA’s place as a leading contemporary art museum showcasing the best of global contemporary art on our doorstep.’
QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said ‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ was a rare opportunity for Australians to experience the scope of the German artist’s extraordinary practice across six decades and its influence on contemporary art.
‘This exhibition reveals the depth and technical virtuosity of Richter, who operates between the twin poles of realism and abstraction. It highlights his endless variation of technique and inventiveness as a painter,’ Mr Saines said.
‘Amongst the 90 plus works are some of the most compelling, haunting and enigmatic images of our time.
‘They capture Richter’s responses to some of modern history’s pivotal events such as the Second World War, the horror of the holocaust and a divided post-war Germany, all of which coincided with the rapid ascendancy of the mechanically reproduced image,’ he said.
The exhibition will demonstrate the diversity and breadth of Richter’s work and include intimate family portraits, large-scale abstracts and tapestries, exquisite landscapes, a new and extensive overview of the artist’s life-long archival project Atlas, and the four-part abstract series, Birkenau 2014.
Exhibition Curator Dr Rosemary Hawker, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Griffith University has worked with QAGOMA Curator Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow, Curatorial Manager, International Art, to develop the exhibition.
‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ will feature key works from the artist’s personal collection, and pre-eminent public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; TATE, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Art Gallery of New South Wales and National Gallery of Victoria; as well as numerous private collections in Europe and USA.
Dr Hawker said Richter, born in Germany in 1932, remained deeply committed to the exploration of the life of images in his practice.
‘With a disarming directness, Richter’s artworks give a place to controversial events and the politics surrounding them. He is an enormously influential contemporary artist whose work confirms the ongoing relevance and power of painting as an art form,’ Dr Hawker said.
Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow said ‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ would take visitors on a journey from intimate and moving portraits of the artist’s children to the Birkenau suite, which weighs up questions that have privately shadowed the artist since his own childhood experience of World War Two.
On Saturday 14 October there will be a program of talks, tours and discussions on the exhibition with Dr Rosemary Hawker, Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow and international guests, and on Sunday 15 October, in partnership with Griffith University, QAGOMA will host a one-day academic symposium on Richter’s expansive practice.
The exhibition is supported by partners Urban Art Projects (UAP) and Griffith University.
‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ is supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) Program. This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.
Funding for insurance has also been provided through the Queensland Government Exhibition Indemnification Scheme, administered by Arts Queensland.