Art Quote for the Day

30 December 1992
What counts is the world of the mind, and of art, in which we grow up. Over the decades, this remains our home and our world. We know the names of those artists and musicians and poets, philosophers and scientists; we know their work and their lives. To us, they – and not the politicians and rulers – are the history of human-kind, the others are barely names to us, and the associations that they arouse, if any, are horrific ones: for rulers can make their mark only through atrocities.
No greater contrast is conceivable than that between Kafka and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

22 September 1992
Scraping off. For about a year now, I have been unable to do anything in my painting but scrape off, pile on and then remove again. In this process I don’t actually reveal what was beneath. If I wanted to do that, I would have to think what to reveal (figurative pictures or signs or patterns): that is, pictures that might as well be produced direct. It would also be something of a symbolic trick:
bringing to light the lost, buried pictures, or something to that effect. The process of applying , destroying and layering serves only to achieve a more varied technical repetoire in picture-making.

8 December 1992
Artist: more of a title than a job description.It’s a word that still earns you considerable respect. People associate it with splendor and misery, with the attainment of freedom and with unexampled independence. Artists’ lives seem exceptional and exotic: they are ahead of their time; their works are among the loftiest works of the human race; their undaunted courage defies the incomprehension of the philistines and the persecution of the dictatorships. Artists are the truly creative ones, the geniuses; their fame and the fame of their works derives from their God-given talents and from their passionate devotion to their work, which they perform with intuition and intelligence on behalf of the community. They are always progressively minded and critical of society, always on the side of the oppressed; and rich or poor, they are always priviledged.

Understandably , everyone would rather be an artist than endure the shame of some ordinary occupation. But the artist’s image is going to be adjusted, sooner or later, when society realizes how easy it is to be an artist, and to set down (on or off the canvas) something that no one can understand and consequently no one can attack; how easy it is to inflate one’s own importance and put on an act that will fool everyone else and even oneself. By then, if not before, the title of artist will induce nausea.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

Q: Now I hardly like to ask what significance painting can stil have, in relation to that responsibility of grasping reality.

A: It’s hard to say whether – as people do sometimes assume – painting in the past had more effect and more reality, on the grounds that it was better understood, or more popular, or was always on view in the churches to everyone.  But painting still has a reality and an effect now. It is shown and bought and discussed, and quite a lot of effort goes into all of this .  And so long as the art  justifies the effort, by being interesting enough, then in a sense that will do for now.

Q: It might be possible for pictures to launch something like a leap in perception or in consciousness.  Someone might suddenly look at things differently, react to them with more doubts, or with more involvement.  Indifference might be overturned by pictures.

A: I believe it might. But I’ve got nothing to say on that subject.

Q:  You have no desires in that direction yourself:

A:  Of course I have – it just doesn’t do any good to take on that kind of elevated responsibility.  We all know, don’t we, what well-intentioned paintings look like.

Q: Kasper Konig once showed your figurative paintings – the cycle 18 October 1977 – and abstract paintings in direct succession, in order to show that the theme is the same.

A: He was right to do that.  Even so, it’s difficult, because figurative paintings are always more attractive than abstract ones.  As soon as there are persons or objects to be seen, you get more interest.

Q: In 1968, in the period of the Grey Pictures and the Four Panes of Glass, there is a double panel called WAY THROUGH. It  gave me a sense of a sacrifice, in the joyous, pagan sense of the word; giving something up and getting something in return.  Did it feel like leaving something behind you, shaking something off, slipping away from it, in order to get to something different?

A: Certainly. And for that you always have to give something up, or destroy it, or scratch it out – as in this little abstract here.

Q: Let’s stay with scraping off for a moment. Is this removal of painti an agressive thing?

A: Yes, certainly.

Q: It has something to do with injury.

A:  Yes, with injury and with taking something that has been made and destroying it, subtracting it, scratching it out.  And then the pleasant feeling that you can get something else in return.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote of the Day

A
Q : Do you believe in your own paintings?

A: There are few that I like, but I wouldn’t go so far as to stand up and say I believe in them.

Q: But surely you ought – otherwise why go to all that trouble?

A:  Of course, I have to believe that I can produce something useful.  And the pleasure of making counts for a lot in painting- as when someone’s making music.  There’s no room for doubt.

Q:  doubt as to what?

A: That it might make no sense, or be unnecessary or passe’

Q: Doubt as to the possibility of still making a picture  you can believe in?

A:There are so many believable pictures in the world, and we love them; we travel long distances to see them.  We need them . And there are some people who need to make picutres themselves.

Q:  How does this question of  need relate to your earlier statement that you were looking for the maximum possible indifference?

A: This was an attempt at self-protection – saying that I was indifferent, that I didn’t care, and so on.  I was aftaid my pictures might seem too sentimental.  But I don’t mind admitting now that it was no coincidence that I painted things that mattered to me personally- the tragic types, the murderers and suicides, the failures, and so on.

Q: Is the painted picture closer to the reality or to the appearance?

A: In one sense it’s closer to the appearance, but then it has more reality than a photograph, because a painting is more of an object in itself, because it’s visibly hand-painted, because it has been tangibly and materially produced.  That gives it a reality of its own, which then as it were substitutes for the reality of the cup.

Q: So can a painted appearance tell us more about reality?

A: Perhaps it can, because it’s more unsettling.  It’s always more or less different from reality, and that’s unsettling. You ask more questions.

Q: You get closer?

A: Yes, closer to our relationship with reality.  The cup on its own is boring.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

Interview with Sabine Schutz (cont)

Q: In 1976 you began to paint abstract pictures, because you wanted something that you cxouldn’t visualize in advance. In doing so, you invented a method that was absolutely new to you. Was that an experiment of some kind?

A: Yes. It began in 1976, with small abstract paintings that allowed me to do what I had never let myself do: put something down at random. And then, of course, I realized that it never can be random. It was all a way of opening a door for me. If I don’t know what’s coming – that is, if I have no hard-and-fast image, as I have with a photographic original- then arbitrary choice and chance pay an important part.

Q: How do you manage to direct chance in such a way that a highly specific picture with a specific statement comes out of it – because that is your stated intention, isn’t it?

A: No, I don’t have a specific picture in my mind’s eye. I want to end up witha picture that I haven’t planned.This method of arbitrary choice, chance, inspiration and destruction may produce a specific type of picture, but it never produces a predetermined picture. Each picture has to evolve out of a painterly or visual logic: it has to emerge as if inevitably. And by not planning the outcome, I hope to achieve the same coherence and objectivity that a random slice of Nature (or a Readymade) always possesses. Of course, this is also a method of bringing in unconscious processes, as far as possible. I just want to get something more interesting out of it than those things that I can think out for myself.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

21 July 1989
Nature/Structure. There is no more to say. In my pictures I reduce to that. But ‘reduce’ is the wrong word, because these are not simplifications. I can’t verbalize what I am working on: to me, it is many layered by definition; it is what is more important, what is more true.
Everything you can think of – the feeblemindedness, the stupid ideas, the gimcrack constructions and speculations, the amazing inventions and the glaring juxtapositions – the things you can’t help seeing a million times over, day in and day out; the impoverishment and the cocksure ineptitude – I paint all that away, out of myself, out of my head, when I first start on a picture. That is my foundation, my ground. I get rid of that in the first few layers, which I destroy, layer by layer, until all the facile feeblemindedness has gone. I end up with work of destruction. It goes without saying that I can’t take any short cuts: I can’t start off right away with the work in its final state.
The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

5 January 1988

Art is the pure realization of religious feeling, capacity for faith, longing for God.

All other realizations of these, the outstanding human qualities, abuse those qualities by exploiting them: that is, by serving an ideology.  Even art becomes ‘applied art’  just as soon as it gives up its freedom from function and sets out to convey a message.  Art is human only in the absolute refusal to make a statement.

The ability to believe is our outstanding quality, and only  art adequately translates it into reality.  But when we assuage our need for faith with an ideology, we court disaster

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote of the Day

NOTES 1990

12 SEPTEMBER 1990. Accept that I can plan nothing.

” Any thoughts on my part about the ‘construction’ of a picture are false, and if the execution works, this is only because I partly destroy it, or because it works in spite orf everything – by not detracting and by not looking the way I planned.

I often find this intolerable and even impossible to accept, because, as a thinking, planning human being, it humiliates me to find out that I am so powerless. It casts doubt on my competence and constructive ability.  My only consolation is to tell myself that I did actually make  the pictures – even though they are a law unto  themselves, even though they treat me any way they  like and somehow just take shape.  Because it’s still up to me to determine the point at which they are finished ( picture-making consists of a multitude of Yes/No decisions, with a Yes to end it all).  If I look at it that way, the whole thing starts to seem quite natural again – or rather Nature – like, alive – and the same thing applies to the comparison on the social level. ”

Gerhard  Richter – The Daily Practice of Painting

Art Quote of the Day

“Understandably , everyone would rather be an artist than endure the shame of some ordinary occupation.  But the artist’s image is going to be adjusted, sooner or later, when society realizes how easy it is to be an artist, and to set down (on or off the canvas) something that no one can understand and consequently no one can attack; how easy it is to inflate one’s own importance and put on an act that will fool everyone else and even oneself. By then, if not before, the title of artist will induce nausea.”

Gerhard Richter –  The Daily Practice of Painting