1st Edition

The Artwork of Gerhard Richter
Painting, Critical Theory and Cultural Transformation

ISBN 9781472409560
Published July 21, 2016 by Routledge
258 Pages 81 B/W Illustrations

USD $180.00

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Book Description

By uniquely treating Gerhard Richter’s entire oeuvre as a single subject, Darryn Ansted combines research into Richter’s first art career as a socialist realist with study of his subsequent decisions as a significant contemporary artist. Analysis of Richter’s East German murals, early work, lesser known paintings, and destroyed and unfinished pieces buttress this major re-evaluation of Richter’s other well known but little understood paintings. By placing the reader in the artist’s studio and examining not only the paintings but the fraught and surprising decisions behind their production, Richter’s methodology is deftly revealed here as one of profound yet troubled reflection on the shifting identity, culture and ideology of his period. This rethinking of Richter’s oeuvre is informed by salient analyses of influential theorists, ranging from Theodor Adorno to Slavoj Žižek, as throughout, meticulous visual analysis of Richter’s changing aesthetic strategies shows how he persistently attempts to retrace the border between an objective reality structured by ideology and his subjective experience as a contemporary painter in the studio. Its innovative combination of historical accuracy, philosophical depth and astute visual analysis will make this an indispensible guide for both new audiences and established scholars of Richter’s painting.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables


Chapter 1 Socialist Realism: Painting, utopia and ideology

Chapter 2 Informel: Crafting the dialectical image

Chapter 3 Contemporary Art: Conceptual clarity and the artifice of style

Chapter 4 Painting after contemporary art

Chapter 5 Painting as text, phenomena and context

Chapter 6 An oeuvre structured like a language

Chapter 7 Political and aesthetic dissent

Chapter 8 Unpaintable: Critical theory and the ethical image

Chapter 9 Autonomy: The image of lost freedom


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Darryn Ansted is the Coordinator of Painting at the Curtin University School of Design and Art in Western Australia.