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Gerhard Richter, Birkenau, 2014, oil on canvas, 102 3/8 x 78 3/4".

Gerhard Richter

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

Gerhard Richter, Birkenau, 2014, oil on canvas, 102 3/8 x 78 3/4".

For an institution with a reputation for blockbuster exhibitions and kid-friendly programming, the Gallery of Modern Art made an unusual choice when it decided to mount a Gerhard Richter retrospective—his first in Australia. This was a measured affair, in contrast with the almost concurrent survey of the works of Yayoi Kusama, whose loud colors and easy interactivity were more faithful to the GoMA brand. Centering on the idea that Richter’s fascination with the iconographic resonance of painting and photography has itself become iconic, “The Life of Images” shows how Richter has spent a lifetime scrutinizing the easy dissemination and apparent autonomy of the image. His wrestling with the mechanics of picture making—including its impact on personal and political memory—is key to the development of a post-1960s mode of painting that absorbs the effects of reproducibility

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