Laura de Gunzburg
Mar 19, 2013 8:57PM

These works by Gerhard Richter exemplify the different confrontations of paintings from photographs. This issue was primarily raised due to Richter’s photo-paintings. Richter’s goal with these paintings was to counter the idea of subjectivism. He accomplished this technique by using the objectivity of the photographic image.

Richter's approach to painting is a negative negation. Over the years, however, many have argued that Photography replaced Painting. But as seen in this work, the artist believed otherwise. Through the use of an existing photograph, Richter’s goal was to paint a simplified reproduction of the mechanically produced image.

The artist’s painting technique became extremely controversial. One must understand Richter’s process in technique, in order to realize that he uses the element of photography only as a subject source. Drawing from objectivity and what can be assumed of the photographic image, Richter attempts to counter the perceived subjectivism aspect of the painting.

The term photo-paintings is a proper form/technique of painting. It is important to realize that painting after photography is different then painting before photography.

Furthermore, photo-paintings such as Richter’s are paintings by photographs and photographs by painting. Richter’s paintings must therefore be viewed conceptually as a double negation. This un-doughtily may lead many to re-think modernism’s history.

One must accept that Gerhard Richter is first and foremost a painter, in order to understand this analysis of these two dominant artistic mediums.  Photo-paintings help us to reflect on photography and painting’s artistic forms. This leads me to see how photo-paintings are a representation in relation to the experience that they seek to capture. 

Laura de Gunzburg