“Abstract paintings are like fictitious models because they visualize a reality which we can neither see nor describe but which we nevertheless conclude exists. We attract negative names to this reality: the un-known, the un-graspable, the infinite, and for thousands of years we have depicted it in terms of absolute images like heaven and hell... Paintings are better the more intelligent, the more beautiful, the more mad, the more extreme, the more evident, the more incomprehensible their way of showing this incomprehensible reality”
(G. Richter, ‘Statement’, Documenta 7, Kassel, 1982, unpaged)
Echoing this idea in his celebrated body of work the Abstrakten Bilder, Gerhard Richter is blurring not only abstraction, arbitrariness and layering but also moments, questions, destruction and ideas. By blurring the different layers, the painting becomes a vessel of the unspeakable that unfolds and disguises the inner dialogues of the artist in front of the beholder. Ultimately becoming reflections of the incomprehensible reality that surrounds us.
The year 1977 marks the beginning of a new series in the oeuvre of Gerhard Richter called the Abstrakten Bilder or Abstract Paintings. Contrary to the monochrome paintings and his colour charts, the paintings evoke a visual explosion of endless movement and colour. The construction of these multilayered compositions offers no halt point for the eye, so it keeps wandering though the intricate formations that resist any form of interpretation. The focusing point is no longer situated in the middle but is being swept away in the whirling composition time and time again. Therefore, his works are never really finished.
From 1979 onwards the artist starts working with the squeegee and later on with the spatula that both result in a general loss of control and in a coincidental fragmentation of forms, shapes and colours. While painting the artist tries to eradicate any similarity with our known reality. This is being achieved by taking long breaks from each painting during the process of painting while working on several works simultaneously. These intermissions unleash a detachment from the moment and from the work itself. Ultimately detaching himself from the original construction of the composition and erasing any preconceived notions or ideas.
The similarity with worldly things that has been born out of the constructed chaos sometimes results in the title of a work. Donnerstag or Thursday is an excellent example of this associative titling. A final act that can only take place after the last brushstroke has touched the canvas.
Donnerstag belongs to a series of 4 works that all have been named after the first four days of the week. Starting from Monday to Thursday Donnerstag is the last work in this series.
Due to their medium and size, Richter’s works on paper are often airier and more intimate than his canvasses. On paper the combined force of the brushwork, spatula and squeegee result in an explosive visual firework of colour, form and texture. Inviting the beholder to enter and explore this incomprehensible reality.