In Gerhard Richters ‘Atlas’ series we are shown a tremendous archive of various pictures since the moment of his creative breakthrough in 1962. From snapshots to magazine cut out’s, Richter has acquired these images as they have caught his eye or through means of inspiration. The archive holds over five thousand photographs which portray his life at that moment in time and subjects he relates to, whether it by kitschy tourist New York cityscapes, bad family portraits or romantic sunsets expressing all aspects of nature.
“The Atlas comprises over five thousand photographs, drawings, diagrams and proposals which constitute the foundations of Richter’s practise as an artist.” – Iwona Blazwick 2003
Gerhard’s archive shown in a grid format presents to us his ideas, processes, life and times of the artist himself in sections with the occasional diagram or plan of how the artist himself see’s these images in a studio space. An intimate perspective on the artist’s thoughts and what inspires him as an individual. Often these collected images acted as a basis for a subsequent painting, a painting which holds more truth and is illogical as opposed to the static photograph. It is clear from this series that the collection and preservation of these images is an important part of Richter’s artistic strategy. An example of this is ‘Parkstück’ 1971, based on panel 155. The relationship between panel and painting is clear, his use of abstraction in his brushstrokes conveys truthful movement within nature.
“He looked to photography for a way to release painting from the political and symbolic burdens of Socialist Realism and Abstract Expressionism.” – Helmut Friedel
Below are images of selected pages from Richter’s ‘Atlas’. Natural landscapes alongside man-made landscapes.
This inspired me to archive my photographs and drawings which have accompanied me throughout this project, it has been really helpful as all the imagery is set out in sections/categories and is all in chronological order. Below I have inserted photos of my version of ‘Atlas’;