Yeah, I know – terrible title pun – but it’s been a long time coming and we’ve all been twitchy since being teased with the John Hansard Gallery’s Sampler a couple of months back. We know there was a Gerhard Richter exhibition, but which Richters? What will the response be like?
Happy to say, there are many glories to behold. I was most familiar with his photo-paintings such as Betty (1988), but he has created a vast body of work, and there were no spoliers until just before opening day on 12th May. As it happens, there is no Betty etc, but there are squeegee paintings, tapestries, mirrors, experiments with scale and surface, and oh, the light and airy Gallery 3 with 4900 Colours to immerse yourself in, to name but a few. The Guardian‘s Laura Cumming described it as a mini-retrospective (compared to what would fit in Tate Modern?) but to me it’s pretty ‘maxi’, and for Southampton with its emerging Cultural Quarter, I imagine even more so; her glowing review suggests she agrees and that the lengthy tribulations over the gallery’s creation can finally be filed away. I have to say it’s a privilege to work there (I’m an invigilator on occasion) and a joy to talk to visitors about the work, and it’ll be fascinating to see how the community aspects evolve e.g. Stair/Slide/Space‘s badge-themed work responding to the content (omissions) of 48 Portraits (1971-98). That starts tomorrow and I’ll be on shift, so I’ll let you know.
[Artist Rooms: Gerhard Richter is at John Hansard Gallery until 18th August]