February 18, 2010

On Printing German Wallpaper & Richter's Film

For their "Art of Two Germanys" show in 2008, LACMA recreated part of a 1966 gallery installation by Gerhard Richter called Volker Bradke, which was designed to mimic or reference the postwar German bourgeoisie's penchant for ticky tacky floral wallpaper.

But instead of real wallpaper, the museum used an artifact from the original installation, loaned by the piece's owner via the gallery: a rubber stamp roll with a design carved into it. LACMA's curator and gallery manager talk here about printing up the walls, but for some reason, I just can't get enough of this video of them actually doing it.

This reminds me a bit of Christopher Wool, and it's a fantastic-looking method of generating an image. Or a design, or a surface, whatever you end up calling it. The fact that it's a painted simulacrum and not actual wallpaper, though, seems pretty relevant, as does the curator's instruction that "the printing is not supposed to look perfect." It sounds like an early example of Richter reminding the viewer that he's looking at an image, not the thing itself.

Anyway, this is all coming down today because Bradke is the subject of Richter's only film, a 14-min black & white short which was part of the installation. It's just been released on DVD, along with a book, »Volker Bradke« und das Prinzip der Unschärfe ["Volker Bradke and the Uncertainty Principle] by art historian Hubertus Butin. From what I can tell, the whole project was designed to turn Richter's friend and studio assistant into a celebrity, using paintings, posters, banners, and a fawning profile film. We'll see how the film turns out when it arrives; but so far, Richter doesn't seem too compelled to revisit the medium. [via @gerhardrichter]

Wallpaper in Art of Two Germanys, part II [lacma blog]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: February 18, 2010.

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