Sunday, February 12, 2012

'Tote' by Richter and how to speak about art?

Don DeLillo writes in his short story 'Looking at Meinhof' about the series ‘October 18, 1977’ by Gerhard Richter:

"Tell me what you see. Honestly. I want to know."


"I realise now that the first day I was only barely looking. I thought I was looking, but I was only getting a bare inkling of what's in these paintings. I'm only just starting to look."

They stood looking, together, at the coffins and trees and crowd. […]

"And what do you feel when you look?" he said.

"I don't know. It's complicated."

"Because I don't feel anything."

"I think I feel helpless. These paintings make me feel how helpless a person can be."

"Is that why you're here three straight days? To feel helpless?" he said.

"I'm here because I love the paintings. More and more. At first I was confused, and still am, a little. But I know I love the paintings now."

Image: 'Tote (Dead)' by Gerhard Richter (1988).

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