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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 May 2012
Gerhard Richter Painting is a visual treat for fans of his work. Often with art documentaries we get to see a few minutes of an artist working, not here though. The DVD has a running time of over an hour and a half and much of that is Richter working in the studio.

We see the daily life of the studio, interviews with Richter's assistants and Gerhard in conversation. The film can be quite slow in places, demanding your complete attention. It's great to view the early stages of some of his works in the studio. Many of these early stages remind me of de Koonings late works. At points in the film Richter's works often look complete yet he continues to develop these, sometimes a step too far. This is the case with every artist and it's great Corinna Belz was allowed to keep such moments in the film. Richter even admits to feeling uncomfortable whilst being filmed.

As an artist myself I now have a new respect for his recent abstract works after watching this film. Richter is in his own way quite a charismatic and engaging character. Richter has always been an inspiration.

Richter's past glories are only touched on briefly, this is a film about the artist today instead of a retrospective. The film gives us glimpses of several of his exhibitions and there are many high quality still shots of his work from these shows. There are some worthwhile extras in the form of an interview with Richter and the original film notes are attached as a PDF.

Personally I enjoyed the quietness and slow pace of this film. It's a DVD that you can dip in and out of, and watch more than once. So for fans of Richter and those who wish to take a gamble on purchasing this film I can recommend.
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on 7 January 2016
very interesting
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on 15 May 2017
If you are looking for inspiration you will find it in this DVD. Excellent value.
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on 11 February 2014
I absolutely love the work of Richter and to see him actually working on those huge canvases was a real insight and a treat-even though Richter himself seemed not to have felt comfortable being filmed! Much of the film is in Grerman with subtitles-Normally I am not a fan of subtitles but in this case it made no difference to my enjoyment of the film. I would highly reccomend this to anyone interested in Richter and in abstract art.
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on 23 August 2012
I greatly admire Gerhard Richter's work and having seen the Retrospective at Tate Modern I was thrilled to find a DVD where I could see him talk about his work. The film is beautifully shot and fascinating except that since it had to have subtitles,one could barely read them.They are too small and cramped, and the changing background tones often obliterated them. This is a huge disappointment and surprising, considering the quality of the film.
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on 22 September 2015
Superb DVD about a very "shy" artist .. It is very engaging stuff. At one point though -a WW2 photograph- brings stifled tears to Richter's frame-a la Soote. I hate this as the cameras silence is trying to capture the "choke up" and I do wish film directors would not do this. Its cheap journalism. Apart from that ,the well paced film captures the essence of Richter -the Man-in his paintings. his techniques,and friendships.Even his studio assistants add complementary (sic) and practical insights which add a naturalness to the film. The subtitles are respectably and non-intrusively sized and I thought the whole a well balanced film. Really enjoyed it!
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on 28 November 2014
No, really. Less predictable too.

Outstanding work both by him and the film-maker (well done to her for persisting in the face of his obvious doubts about being filmed). A real insight into the creation of his works, full of tension and jaw-dropping moments of beauty being revealed with yet another swipe of the squeegee.

He doesn't talk a lot of bulls*** either, "painting is a different language" he says at one point, and he's fluent enough in it not to try and dress his work up in Artist Statement rubbish.

(If you find the subtitles hard to read, stop watching it on your silly little device, try a decent-size TV for heaven's sake)
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on 2 June 2016
A really fine and sensitive filming insight into the creative process of a great artist.
Gerhard Richter explores the act of spontaneous creation or to use his description planless creating.
This works particularly in music and all forms of art. To let the work evolve from itself takes great patience, dedication and humility.
A truly inspiring film.
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on 16 May 2012
Arshile Gorky's wife reported, when he was still working in his New York studio, that she would see a canvas in one state, and, by the time that she awoke, it had been worked upon so much that it was largely unrecognizable. There are elements of this in what Gerhard Richter seeks to achieve in spite of the presence of those filming him at work, but that is the territory of this kind of work, and, really, it ought not to be too surprising (to which I shall return later).

Rather than wondering, rather pointlessly, whether Gorky would have allowed director Corinna Belz in when he was working, I can only profess admiration for Richter that, despite the fact that it was putting him off, he did not close down the access. That said, whether he would have welcomed - or, if given the choice, approved of - the temporal juxtaposition of how what he was working on looked at different moments, I do not know.

What I do know is that he loads the squeegee with paint, and then has to say that what he was about to do cannot be done then, because it will not succeed. Whatever Richter may 'really' be like, he gave the impression on camera of being a sensitive man, and he seemed unnerved that he had started preparing for something that was not possible, and which, one would like to think, he might not have done, if he had felt at ease. He did not, not when trying to work on his canvases.

Indeed, following on from that, if we invest an artist and his or her work with worth, then we have to leave him or her free to decide when a work is finished, and what is effective and what is not. And yet I am imagining that the moment when he white-washes over a grey composition may have left some who watched the film wishing that he had left it untouched: I can understand that, but I take the different view - that he created it, and he must be satisfied with it, if it is to bear his name.

His assistants, his wife, recognize the knife-edge on which the creative process is balanced at this stage, and say that, if they were to comment that they think that something is right as it stands, what they have said would be more likely to cause Richter to re-work it. Not out of perversity, I fully believe, but because, as the camera and crew do, the remark would interrupt and subvert the process.

Unlike artists who have their studios, and would, throughout history, delegate tasks to assistants, Richter's was shown getting the paint ready, but the artist himself was even cleaning off his materials at the end of the session. He was, as he several times expressed in response to questioning (some of which was better and more artistically minded than other parts of it), clearly finding his way with the works, and we were told about how their current state had to stand up (as if to scrutiny, scrutiny of a most honest kind - and Richter believes in truth in painting) for several days: white-washing over was not something over which those in his entourage could regularly afford to be regretful.

As I say, the creation is the artist's, and he or she is the one to find a way ahead. In the case, for example, of Joan Miró, he had the luxury of being able to re-work canvases decades later that were still in his possession, whereas the Tate refused, I think, Francis Bacon, access to some of his, because it did not want them - as it owned them - any different from how they were, and knew that that would be the result otherwise.

One observation, amongst many intelligent things that Richter said about his work (and it was also fascinating to see him about the business not only of planning out exhibition spaces in 1:50 scale, but to hear him pleading with photographers at the opening of a show who required just one more pose that they had so many shots already), was that a painting makes an assertion that does not bear much company: in the context of having to hang several pieces on each wall, and plan it all out, that seemed just as much a challenge as in the studio, with canvases making differing assertions in different ways about how they should work.

So the supremacy of each work's voice, its statement, and, I would say, for the painter to decide what it is to say and when it is saying it. Then, for Richter, what he said that he valued was people adopting the attitude of those attending a gallery in New York, who would more freely, more honestly, say that they liked this group of paintings, but that the grey compositions were terrible. The point that he was making is he does not feel the polite comment that something is 'interesting', to which he is usually exposed, is that kind of genuine response.

As for me, I looked forward to spending time at the new exhibition at Tate Modern - and maybe watching this film there again.
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on 18 November 2016
Fascinating film. Richter has always seemed to me to come across as rather distant and austere, but this film shows him to be a man of warmth and sensitivity. Well filmed and edited.
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