Etel Adnan // Gerhard Richter
Etel Adnan and Gerhard Richter
New York, 545 West 25th Street
Etel Adnan and Gerard Richter, two pioneering contemporary painters blurring the line between abstraction and representation, have both delivered transformative bodies of work over the decades, discovering new paths in painting. Adnan, who was born in Lebanon in 1925 to multi-religious parents, spent years in France and California as a poet and essayist. Later in her career, she established herself as a painter of minimalist landscapes immersed in vibrant colors and modest geometric forms. On the other hand, Gerhard Richter, who was born in 1932 in Dresden, has been a prominent figure in European painting scene since the ‘50s, and has many times exceeded his own records as the world’s highest-paid living painter.
Origination from diverse biographies, Adnan and Richter unite in this exhibition at The FLAG Art Foundation to comment on artistic drive and other genuine human notions such as memory, longing, and displacement. Tapestry, a laborious and tactile medium similar to painting in multiple ways, is interpreted by two artists who approach the genre through their own methods. Adnan’s meditative and introspective visual language and Richter’s methodical and densely-colored abstractions interweave into a unique dialogue.
“One could read the whole esprit of a place on one canvas. It was not only that place on that particular day when the sky was gray and some mist was getting in, it was the place the way it will always be, containing as well the very moment that place was portrayed,” writes Simone Fattal in her essay on Adnan’s work. “I cannot imagine a viewer emerging from the rooms at Tate Modern and being sure that Richter’s endless hovering around the fact of the photograph – his subservience and aggression towards the medium – had solved, or even properly framed, the problem of ‘painting and figuration’ in our time,” notes T.J. Clark in his London Review of Books article about Richter’s 2011 Tate Modern exhibition
On view through May 13, 2017