There is a temptation to think of Gerhard Richter solely in terms of his painting. Everyone knows the colourful squeegee paintings that feature regularly in the big ticket sales of the major auction houses.
Other works may repetitively visit a single theme: the notorious blurred October 18, 1977, black and white paintings of the Baader Meinhof gang, or Clouds, Candles, Mountains and Colour Charts amongst many more examples.
Each has a certain dead pan approach with some attempt at removal of the artists hand – perhaps by copying, repetition, absence of colour or abstraction.
At the same time as these oils, Richter has however almost continuously worked on many other projects, producing drawings, etchings, watercolours, editions and overpainted photographs. Often his sources are photographs or newspaper clippings – these were meticulously subdivided, ordered and have been eventually published in his Atlas.
He has also since 1966 steadily produced artist books. Considered to be artworks in their own right and they are all highly desirable and sought after. 40 Tage from Heni Publishing is the latest of these and features a series of 40 graphite-on-paper drawings, drawn between May and September 2015.
Usually works on paper are a vehicle for technical virtuosity and naturally this is something that Richter of course disdains and carefully avoids. Instead he draws the flat edge of the graphite across the paper, finding textures from the paper or underlying surfaces.
He sometimes does this in several directions, building up layers and a vague visual depth. He then blurs, rubs and erases before overdrawing with finer lines. These lines are sometimes apparently scribbled and random, at other times they seem to follow a shape or edge. Forms half appear but never quite coalesce.
This is a delightful, shadowy world of abstraction, where we try, but cant quite grasp form or meaning. Enigmatic and allowing repeated viewing this is Richter creating his own unique take on the medium.
Beautifully presented on heavyweight card this is the latest top quality title is published as a limited edition of 800 numbered copies by Heni, an independent art publisher based in London.
Purchase a copy of Gerhard Richter 40 Tage here
For more information or copies of the book visit HENI Publishing