Article: Tagesspiegel (print & online)

Gemälde von Grit Richter: Die Welt umarmen

Review by Christiane Meixner at TAGESSPIEGEL, print & online, 21.07.2018

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Last winter, a red loop marked Grit Richter’s signet. In the evenings, it was glowing through the window of the museum Gunzenhauser, which is part of the art collections Chemnitz. The roughly outlined circle proved to be a sign with an appeal extending from the second floor to the streets, where the neon work’s deep red melted with the cars’ tail lights. 

Even if the exhibition’s title Danke für alles (Thank You For Everything) seemed likely casually, Richter’s compositions from 2017 are still present for their thoughtful precision: paintings, bleached fabric, colored neon lights and small sculptures out of dark pigmented plaster reminding one of geometric modernism design vocabulary were building the space’s appearance. Except that the artist, born 1977, let the castings look like blown up pillows. 

Humor is an important factor in Richter’s repertoire. intuition another one: Even if that does not weigh much in the art history’s context because it sounds like emotions instead of reflection. How outdated this split is, shows Richter’s work plainly currently at Galerie Tanja Wagner. The Space Between Us, the exhibition’s title, shows works from the past three years. This time, she fully relies on their appeal and forgoes three-dimensional objects or details like the soft, of rectangles sewed curtains which was displayed 2013 during her first show at the Berlin based gallery. It alludes to the time when female artists at the progressive Bauhaus were allocated to the weaving and knotting classes. 

The crafted, intuitive as the female sphere, whereas concept art has a male connotation. Grit Richter bends the long-time cultivated assertion quite literally into shape. The crooked circles and crosses of her neon works evoke works of heroes like Bruce Nauman or Dan Flavin, who used colorful light in their creations. In this exhibition the artist used it as a small, sagging rainbow of glass which appears as a small ironic bow. One can also easily recognize the rainbow as a detail in another Richter painting: Wish You Were Here suggests a sad face, two tiny painted rainbows look like closed eyes – even though the composition almost merely consists of one curved line in blue and orange and the little rainbows. At this point the artist’s potential to ambiguous design reveals with a presumed reduced vocabulary. The Space Between Us names this zone of possibilities. An imaginary sphere between the transmitter and receiver which could be everything – vastness, wealth or void. Grit Richter allows her amorphous – not really geometrical, but at the same time not clearly abstract – objects floating over the canvas. They are becoming autonomous objects, born from the constructive elements triangle, ball and (more of a voluminous worm than) a curving line. „In the formation process I’m interested in formal clearness and reduction as well as a desire for playfulness,“ says Richter. And this playfulness refers back to the power of imagination of the viewer to phantasize about interplanetary constellations in space inspired by the arbitrary arrangements as in her painting Forever Now. Or to identify a face in the folding of Das Leben Eben, the almost two meters large painting, created in 2018. Just because the artist put two dots as eyes in the middle of a silver grey surface. 

Grit Richter is following an intention without thinking in a strategic way. It is about „going back from abstraction to a figurative approach to create a projection surface which leads the abstract form to an associated content“. She provokes connections which are allowed to remain in a diffuse state of detection without the need to concretize them: Who would want to admit that one is reminded of the popular childhood comic characters Barbapapa when looking at the monumental work To The Moon And Back. It is not about models or symbols which could describe reality. A painting like Sometimes I Feel So Disconnected showing two thin arms seemingly enfolding the whole subject might give that impression. But this interpretation falls to short because these arms are flying through a black universe of globes which – maybe – embody moon and earth. „Based on the assumption that we all share a collective emotional structure, I’m trying to create associative spaces which are giving shape to the untouchability of inner systems“, says Richter. 

Anyone who wants to know more about themselves will be confronted by her paintings with a dauntless answer.