The New York gallerist launches her David Adjaye designed-space with a show by the renowned German painter
Gerhard Richter is as big as they come. In 2012, his painting ‘Abstraktes Bild’ sold at auction for £21m, making it the most expensive work by a living painter. Six months later, his ‘Domplatz, Mailand’ eclipsed that record, going for a whopping £24.4.m. Now, the 82-year-old behemoth is inaugurating mighty New York gallerist Marian Goodman’s first London space with a show of new painting and sculpture. So yeah, it’s a big deal.
The first works here are flat-glass monochromes, arranged in pairs, each part a different shade of grey. They feel like glass panels from a high-tech, ultra-efficient German car factory. From there we’re met with a series of oozy, splodgy works – neat, abstract and totally psychedelic images, like visual bong hits.
A group of smaller works are even more satisfying, with Richter glooping and smudging paint over photographs. They’re brilliantly intimate, forcing you to come in close.
But it’s the large stuff that’s the main attraction. The series of ‘strip’ paintings are massive, with one measuring in at ten metres across. Each piece is a manipulated photograph of one of Richter’s own abstract paintings. He divides, zooms and stretches, leaving behind a field of stripes that seems to expand, contract and shimmer like an optical illusion. He’s aware of his past, his legacy, and he’s exploiting it. It’s as if he’s managed to distil the essence of his own art down to a bunch of brutally blunt objects and images. At 82, this giant is still leaving behind some pretty impressive footprints.