Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern

Gerhard Richter Painting

Candle by Gerhard Richter

Visited Tate Modern at the weekend to see the Gerhard Richter show before it closes next weekend. Although I’ve seen many of his paintings over the years this was the first time I’ve seen anything approaching the scale of a retrospective.

I have mixed feelings about his work, I’ve never really got his squeegee abstract paintings and this show did little to change that, but some of his more realist paintings are quite sublime. Perhaps I’m responding to his work on too much of an aesthetic level and missing the conceptualism involved as  it’s quite clear that even his realist work is conceptual in some ways, but that’s not really the context in which I approach his art.

I also don’t think it helps that I saw so many contemporaries at Art School making paintings which were highly derivative of his abstract work and largely awful.

Whilst there I also saw a photographic show A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters by the American photographer Taryn Simon. I’d read about this show in a newspaper supplement some time ago and thought it sounded very interesting but had completely forgotten about it.

The exhibition contains portraits and other documentary evidence collected by Simon who travelled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories over a 4 year period.

Taryn Simon A Living Man Declared Dead and other chapters

It’s an incredibly powerful show, some of it quite moving and disturbing, and it was beautifully presented. Here’s an interesting interview with Taryn Simon about the exhibition.

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