Gerhard Richter

Kunstmuseen Krefeld | Haus Lange

Gerhard Richter’s series of paintings, “18. Oktober 1977,” 1988, recalls a tidal wave of recent events and is bound to stir the collective memory of those who see it. On that date, in the high security ward of the Stammheim Prison in Stuttgart, three corpses were found—the bodies of the terrorists Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader, and Jan-Carl Raspe. Ensslin died by hanging, the other two from bullets. A fourth inmate in the same ward, Irmgard Möller, survived with four knife wounds in her chest. No other German event of the ’70s did more to shake the confidence in the constitutional state. The question as to how this could have happened in the best-guarded penitentiary in West Germany remained unanswered even after the entire ward was torn down almost to the foundations. Eighteen months earlier, Ulrike Meinhof had hanged herself in her cell. So the 18th of October, 1977, sealed the fate of

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