Richter’s Church Art

I went to see Richter’s window in the cathedral of Cologne, and my first impression was that it blended in well with the other windows, which may be a good thing for the church, but doesn’t necessarily help the reputation of Herr Richter. Though the bombing left the cathedral intact, many windows must have been blown out, because there are some

Abstract windows of relatively recent date in Cologne's cathedral.

Abstract windows of relatively recent date in Cologne’s cathedral.

obviously modern ones. Most prominent are windows with recurring abstract patterns, like carpets in glass. Richter’s window is different from those in that it has a degree of randomness or variation, but on site that didn’t seem such an important distinction. You can theorize it and say that Richter replaces religious certainty with openness and chance, but that’s not an interesting thought. A banality in fact. His work is variation within a conventional manner, and doesn’t depart much from the past.

Gerhard Richter's window, Cologne

Gerhard Richter’s window, Cologne

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3 Responses to Richter’s Church Art

  1. Lutz says:

    Yes, completely agreed! One could maybe add the obvious idea going into the project that Richter’s Farben series (like, e.g. would have appeared easily adaptable for the purpose. Obviously the color scheme became “less abstract” during the process, and Richter always had to (ineffectively) insist there was no spiritual content or impact intended.

  2. Martin Mugar says:

    I wonder if the last show of Richter’s might generate some revisionism about his importance. The nihilist strategies are getting tedious. I wrote in this article that was a linked on Painter’s table about how the late work of many big names in painting like Rothenberg, Winters, Kiefer become parodic of their earlier work. I recently added Richter to this article.

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