The Tate Modern London has always provoked discussion with its boundary-pushing exhibitions, and art lovers visiting the capital will undoubtedly want to pay a visit to the famous gallery. An exciting new retrospective on the work of Gerhard Richter is opening on October 6th and running until January 11th. Coinciding with the artist’s 80th birthday, the ‘Gerhard Richter: Panorama’ exhibition explores significant moments within his “remarkable” career. One of the first German artists to consider the history of the Nazi Party, he painted pictures of his family members who had been both members and victims of the infamous political power.
Continuing with the interest in politics, Richter then creased a 15-part series of black and white paintings based on images of the Baader Meinhof group. Other significant and terrible moments in history are also documented within his work, with the final room of the exhibition featuring a painting of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, called September 2005. The collection includes realist paintings based on photographs, colourful gestural abstractions including the squeegee paintings, subtle landscapes, portraits and historical works.
For diehard fans of the artist who want to delve even deeper into his work, the Tate Modern is hosting a number of talks to complement the exhibition. On Wednesday October 5th, Benjamin HD Buchloh will be giving a lecture entitled Chance and Intention: Gerhard Richter’s Abstractions. Further to this, the Curator’s Talk on the artist will take place on Monday October 24th and December 5th. Also showing at the gallery is the Contested Terrains exhibition, which is running until October 16th.
This thought-provoking display features four artists working in Africa who explore and subvert narratives about the past and present. Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Michael MacGarry and Adolphus Opar explore the themes of conflicting ideological and economic interests of Africa. The impact of imperialism, ideas of historical truth and representations and mechanics of power are all discussed within their work.
Interest in the construction of cultural narratives by the artists is seen in their engagement with the aesthetics of the museum or gallery display, which highlights the fact that the museum itself is a place where ideas and ideologies are put forth and discussed. Opara uses photographic portraits to explore the theme of traditional and contemporary value systems in dialogue and under pressure. This concept is also tackled by MacGarry’s ossuary.
On the other hand, Attila’s slide installation and MacGarry’s hybrid sculptures look at different ways of grafting and repair. Meanwhile, Baloji’s photomontages look at the remnants and realities of industrialisation and global trade. According to the Tate Modern: “These artists reveal that history is more than a straightforward succession of events and that the present remains contested terrain.”
While at the Tate Modern, visitors may also want to see the Taryn Simon exhibition, which is on until January 2nd. Described as “an important new body of work”, A Living Man Declared Dead and other Chapters is the product of four years of international research by the artist. Simon travelled the world researching and recording bloodlines and stories related to them. The work looks at how the external forces of territory, power, circumstance or religion react with the internal notions of psychological and physical inheritance. Subjects include genocide victims in Bosnia, feuding families in Brazil, the living dead in India and the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday.