The six paintings are composed in his characteristic swiping, blurred style of over-painted and obliterated layers, fine-tuned nuances of grey and white worked through with coruscating colours — carmine, emerald, turquoise, cadmium yellow, fiery orange — dragged across the canvas, smeared, wiped, leaving fragments of beauty on cool but sensuous surfaces. They suggest rain and mist, instability and displacement, absence and endings, classical rigour and postmodern ruin. They echo the northern European palette of earnest darkness and piercing brightness that goes back to Grunewald and Caspar David Friedrich, but Richter is also a minimalist, a denier of meaning, ideals, personal signatures. He has named the works in honour of composer John Cage, in reference to his Lecture on Nothing — “I have nothing to say and I’m saying it.”
Three other things I found interesting there:
1) Miroslaw Balka’s 480x10x10, a sculpture consisting of used bars of soap held together by a stainless steel rope hanging from the ceiling. It’s not often that contemporary art smells Zestfully Clean.
2) Jean Dubuffet’s The Exemplary Life of the Soil (Texturology LXIII). The online image doesn’t do it justice…the painting looked just like a slab of rock hanging on the wall.
3) The Turbine Room is an amazing, amazing space…I could have spent hours in there. I took this photo of Ollie attempting to take his first steps in the Turbine Room. Oh, and they’ve patched the cracks from Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth. The patching is shoddy…I wonder if that’s on purpose as a permanent aftertaste of the artwork.