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Gerhard Richter Painting

A New Film Captures the German Impasto Master at Work with His Squeegee

The notoriously secretive creative process of reclusive German artist Gerhard Richter is exposed in filmmaker Corinna Belz’s new fly-on-the-wall documentary, Gerhard Richter Painting. Belz spent three years as an observer in Richter’s Cologne studio capturing mesmerizing footage of the artist producing his radical abstract works. As we witness him mixing layer upon layer of bold primary colors, smearing the wet paint with a giant squeegee and scraping at the surfaces of the canvases, Richter’s masterpieces appear before our eyes. “You get the feeling the paintings are staring at you,” says Belz, who met the painter while filming his vibrant pixelated stained glass window for the Cologne Cathedral. “There’s a physicality to Richter’s paintings. I wanted the viewer to become immersed in the subtly suspenseful cycle of the process.” Belz’s poetic film coincides with Richter’s 80th birthday and a major retrospective at London’s Tate Modern spanning five decades of his varied work.

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