GFF 2012: Gerhard Richter Painting
With a career spanning five decades and the accolade 'one of the greatest living painters', Gerhard Richter – as might be expected – has surpassed the soul-searching whys of painting and is now focused on the how. In the first documentary he's agreed to in fifteen years, Corinna Belz eschews voiceover narration in favour of a low-key, fly-on-the-wall look at the man in his studio painting.
We see how he begins with an abstract composition of queasy rainbow colours then transforms it, dragging a 'big squeegee' across the surface to achieve his trademark photographic flatness. Just when we think it's finished, Richter decides it isn't working at all and needs to be scrapped. Famously media-shy, he seems relatively at ease here and shares the whims, ironies and perplexities of his practice. Mainly, we learn that the working life of even a big artist involves less drama than you might think – unless you're an avid Richter fan, the film is quite interesting, but that's all.