For my second theory response, I will be responding to the 1986 interview of Gerard Richter, conducted by German art historian, Benjamin Buchloh.
The main subject of the interview is Richter’s paintings, their meaning, his influences and his own feelings towards painting, specifically abstract painting.
Benjamin’s line of questioning is very direct and to the point and Richter always had an immediate response. Buchloh seemed to be very critical in his questioning, asking whether there was more to Richter’s paintings than what was initially seen and quick to offered his own counter point to Gerard’s answers. For example, Buchloh asked whether Richter’s abstract paintings should convey content. Richter said yes, but Benjamin went further by questioning whether the abstract paintings were a perversion of gestural abstraction. The interview has now become a discussion on the importance of painting and it’s role in contemporary art.
While Benjamin openly questions the authenticity of painting (specifically abstract), Richter openly defends, offering his own counter view points and opinions to Buchloh’s view points. The discussion went back and forth, to the point where both have seemly forget that this was supposed to be a simple interview.
It was a very fascinating discussion on the aesthetics and quality of painting from two respected figures in art. I love how this interview started with the intention of Gerard talking about his work, but instead it diverted into a lengthy discussion on painting and its overall relevance in fine art.
I understand Richter’s defense of painting as a medium, as I have recently come to love and admire the art of painting, through the works of Frank Auerbach, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Richter himself. I really like how passionate Gerard becomes as the interview progresses, but he doesn’t come off as condescending or insulting. I also like how quick Buchloh is with his questions, and responses, as well as the depth of his knowledge on aspects of contemporary painting and its place in fine art. Ultimately, there is no definite answer to the debate between the two, and it is ultimately up to the reader to choose a side for themselves.