Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter

In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

“I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

“These days, beauty is not in fashion,” says Richter, who has explored painting and its role in image culture for decades on his quest for a form of painting that corresponds to contemporary challenges. Quoting German author Thomas Mann, who predicted a change in art, Richter says: “Art will shed all of its gravity and transform into something merry and democratic.” But art has, in Richter’s view, surpassed even that. “It’s now more than merry. There has never been so much art … We don’t need it. We need entertainment. Sensations.” Beauty, however, is not lost for the artist: “Beauty is an ideal of mine as much as it ever was … But beauty is being discredited when fashion and models are called beautiful.”

Boasting a diverse catalogue of paintings, Richter has always been suspicious of staying with the same motive and painterly strategy: “It’s more interesting to be insecure. You should have a measure of uncertainty and perplexity.” The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art recently acquired one of Richter’s 10 metre stripe-paintings, supplementing it’s collection of works by, and long standing relationship with, a painter who is considered the most important of the post-war era. As an incessant voice in contemporary German painting for more than half a century, he has witnessed the development of his country since World War II and in this light his resume of the state of affairs of his native country seems uplifting: “Actually we have the same or similar problems as all other countries nowadays… we’re looking ahead.”

Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) was a professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1971-1994 and is the recipient of numerous prizes, among other the Golden Lion at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 and the 1998 Premium Imperial Prize. His paintings have been shown extensively, e.g. at the Tate Galleries, London, UK and at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, USA and his work is held in major collections around the world.

Gerhardt Richter was interviewed by Anders Kold at his studio in Cologne, Germany, in September 2016.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Ed Atkins

    Something is Missing

    Ed Atkins is considered one of the most unsettling contemporary artists – as well as one of the most exciting. In this video, the young British artist shares how he works from written texts, and why melancholy is at the centre of his animated digital videos.

  • Louisa Gagliardi

    Longing for Something Else

    “Art is amazing because it’s in a way unnecessary, but extremely necessary as a testimony of its time.” Let us introduce you to a rising star of painting, Louisa Gagliardi, who creates her surreal work digitally and adds layers of paint to the printed image.

  • Hannah Levy

    A Design Purgatory

    “I wonder if the reason why people want to touch it is that they’re in some way attracted to it, or if they’re repulsed by it.” Meet the young artist Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.

  • Dora Budor

    Acting Things

    “I want to use art as a field where I can explore parallel scenarios.” Dora Budor makes complex sculptures and interactive installations inspired by cinematic metaverse and scientific research. Join us as we visit the young Croatian artist in her studio.

  • Ian Cheng

    A Portal to Infinity

    Watch Ian Cheng, a rising star on the art scene, talk about his trilogy of animated live simulation works – ‘Emissaries’ – which work like a never-ending video game in real time: “It was a process that was on-going as life is on-going.”

  • Yona Friedman

    Advice to the Young

    What piece of advice would a renowned 94-year-old architect offer young architects? Find out in this short video, where Yona Friedman argues that architects must always adapt to the context and work for the average user.

  • Jan Gehl

    How to Build a Good City

    “We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.” Meet the 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl, who for more than fifty years has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people “re-conquer the city.”

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.