Gerhard Richter

Mrz 14, 2012

New York City

“To talk about painting is not only difficult but perhaps pointless, too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate.” — Gerhard Richter (1965). Richter, considered one of the world’s greatest living painters and now 80 years old, agreed to talk about his work, as a small film crew documents his creative process. Blunt, provocative, unashamedly curmudgeonly and iconoclastic (but never cynical), the artist says he’s “interested in things he doesn’t understand,” that “painting is a secretive business,” and that “each painting is an assertion that tolerates no company.”

The short film by Belz called Gerhard Richters’s Window 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.

Born in 1932 in Dresden (which became East Germany), he left for the West nearly 30 years later. When his American gallerist Marian Goodman visits, they recall a 1984 show which began their relationship. Extensive contemporary scenes of the artist painting and interviews from the 1960s and ’70s give a sense of his creative development — his colorful abstractions, photorealist portraits, and paintings inspired by politics and history as well as more intimate statements. His final words as he applies and then scrapes off vast globs of paint: “Man, is this fun.”


Gerhard Richter Painting

March 14th – March 27th, 2012
Screenings daily at 13:15hrs, 15:15hrs, 18:00hrs, 20:00hrs, and 22:00hrs.
Film Forum
209 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10014