Unit 8

Led by Dr. Denham, this unit focused on Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Faction (RAF), who led a growingly violent revolution in post WWII Germany. This is a response to the film “Never Look Away” and Gerhard Richter’s paintings.

Truth: Representation in Photograph or Painting?

My portfolio is a general investigation of truth, which (as seen in my definitions) is closely related to humanities. Richter’s paintings challenge my ideas of truth, especially the way I view art as a translation. In Professor Tamura’s unit we studied the photograph as a translation of truth and in Professor Bory’s unit, we studied abstract paintings (far from the realism of photo-journalism) as translation of truth. Now, in Unit 8, we are examining paintings based off of photographs.

Why would Richter paint a subject that has already been expressed in a photograph? Which is the better* representation of Meinhof: photograph or painting?

*I interpret “better” as closer to truth.

I think that I can make two different arguments regarding the reality vs. representation of Meinhof:

The first, is that the painting is less accurate of a representation because it is one step away from reality and therefore, creates distance from what actually happened. This argues: truth –> gaze –> photograph –> painting. Because Richter’s paintings blur the images from the photos, the subject is harder to see/understand.

On the other hand, I could argue that the painting is more accurate of a representation because it provides abstraction of the image, which, like Rothko, brings us closer to emotion and the truth. This argues: truth –> gaze –> painting –> photograph. Because Richter’s paintings blur the images from the photos, they break down the clear subject into brushstrokes and colors which can evoke more accurate emotion.

Why would Kurt, as an artist want to paint a photograph?

Why would he want to reproduce an image that has already been captured?

Does Richter believe that mediums like photography/painting create a harmless distance or harmful representation of reality?