A mere few years ago, the thought of being dragged anywhere near a museum was punishment. I used to kick and scream- anything to not have to stand bored and waiting in front of 'tedious' art. Fast forward a few years however, and I'm singing a whole different tune.
When two of my best girlfriends and I met up at the end of June, we were surprised to find that our idea of spending a girly 36 hours in Paris had turned into a reality. A short five days after initially coming up with the whirlwind idea to head to Paris, we found ourselves boarding the 8:30am Eurostar train at London's St Pancras station. Our excitement reached a high when we found out that Paris Couture Week was on during our short stay! Despite all the fashionable distractions, we agreed that we would make time for a little culture. The three of us were desperate not to miss Gerhard Richter's Panorama show at the Centre Georges Pompidou, so it was very easily decided that once in Paris, the Richter show would be our first stop.
After hopping on countless escalators (and soaking up the breathtaking view of Paris), we finally reached the show on the top floor. The galleries were organised chronologically and by the themes Richter visited and experimented with during his career. From the very first photographs he printed then rolled over to create his famous 'blur' effect to the lesser seen rectangular arrangements of colours and then his massive world renowned canvases.
One of the pieces that stood out the most to me was 'September', Richter's interpretation of the tragic events of 9/11. From afar, this small canvas may appear as just another one of Richter's much celebrated canvases, blurred with paint.
|Construction and Deconstruction.|
At the exhibition, I learnt a little more about the technique. In order to create his colourful canvases, Gerhard Richter begins by applying several layers of paint onto canvas using a metal squeegee. This results in a veil of paint in an array of hues. After randomly scraping the paint up and down, the colour and lines set in a random arrangement on the canvas. As seen on some of Richter's paintings, he begins a process of assembling and ripping apart, or, 'construction and deconstruction'. This sees the artist ripping bits off the canvas in order to expose the colours in the previous layer. What I previously misinterpreted as a simple process of rolling a dirty roller over canvas is actually much more thorough and time consuming than I could have ever imagined.
|Gerhard Richter's latest series.|
I also learnt about the method in which Richter creates that signature blurred effect on photographs. He began his career by rolling over freshly printed photographs, in an attempt to blur the wet ink.
|Paris skyline from the Centre Pompidou.|
For anyone lucky enough to be in Paris this summer or in September, the Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou is not one to be missed.
Gerhard Richter Panorama
June 6 - September 24, 2012 (closed on tuesdays)
Free for those under 26 from the EU, and free on the first sunday of each month.
Centre Georges Pompidou, Place Georges Pompidou, Paris 75191