Helmut Friedel on Gerhard Richter

His starting point for these observations is a letter from Franz Marc to his wife Maria, which was written during the First World War, a few days before his death. Marc wrote that he had painted several ‘‘Kandinsky’s’’ to camouflage their military position at the front. In contrast, Kandinsky invented abstraction – as he wrote in Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911) – to reveal the unseen. Friedel uses this contradiction to explore the way that Richter’s paintings can be seen as on an ongoing experiment in the shift between realism and abstraction. In this way, we can see the abstract paintings of Richter as realistic, while the dimensions in his realistic paintings are abstract. Friedel questions how we can consider this ambiguity.



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