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Exhibition March 16 − October 3

Gerhard Richter. Reflections on the Birkenau cycle

The Museum Association Berlin State Museums and the Old National Gallery hold an exhibition “Gerhard Richter. Reflections on the Birkenau Cycle ".

Visitors will see large-format abstract paintings by one of the most influential living artists, Gerhard Richter.

The Birkenau series of paintings is the result of the artist's long and deep involvement in the Holocaust. Gerhard Richter was very worried about whether and how the unprecedented genocide could be depicted on canvas. The photographs, which were secretly taken by one of the inmates, showed, among other things, the bodies of camp inmates killed in the gas chambers, as well as naked women on their way to the gas chamber. In the process of creating paintings, Gerhard Richter first transferred photographs to canvases, using them to create figurative images, which he then gradually painted over. The artist used a painting technique he had used for many years: first he applied paint with a brush, and then smeared it with a squeegee or scratched again. This process was repeated several times. With each additional layer of paint, the painted photographic template faded more and more, until finally it was no longer visible. In view of the horror and unthinkable crime against humanity, Gerhard Richter creates a work of abstraction, which leads to a refusal to portray it directly. Through this process, Gerhard Richter found a way to access documentary material without showing it directly. His abstract painting offers forms and sounds of color, creating, especially with numerous black and gray surfaces, a melancholic, brooding mood.

Based on site materials Museum Association State Museums of Berlin.