The artist’s method for creating Abstraktes Bild is embracing a technique of building up layers of paint, with the goal to create a newly complex surface. As each stage of the painting is completed, a new degree of abstraction was adopted; from the smooth layer of the foreground to the final applications of thick impasto. Describing his method at this time, Richter explains, “A picture like this is painted in different layers, separated by intervals of time. The first layer mostly represents the background, which has a photographic, illusionistic look to it, though done without using a photograph. This first, smooth, soft-edged paint surface is like a finished picture; but after a while I decide that I understand it or have seen enough of it, and in the next stage of painting I partly destroy it, partly add to it; and so it goes on at intervals, till there is nothing more to do and the picture is finished” (Ibid., p. 112).
Richter’s utterly extraordinary and pioneering art of abstraction stands as the ultimate culmination of the heroic journey of his career, during which he has endlessly questioned the limits of representation, the nature of perception, and the operations of visual understanding. Abstraktes Bild is both compelling, mysterious and a timeless image that, in decades to come, will be still be yielding new readings.
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