50 Notes from Painting’s Wrongful Death: The Revivalist Practices of Glenn Brown and Gerhard Richter

1.The primary developments identified are that painting now draws from and references many other media; painting now embraces photography (instead of seeing it as a threat); the use of appropriation in painting is now seen as expansive rather than as representing depletion; there has been a return toromanticism and pleasure in painting;

2.We are now beginning to see painters turn away from demonstrating the absolute ‘death’ of  painting, towards less nihilistic investigations into the ‘failures’ or ‘limitations’ ofpainting  that acknowledge its continued relevance and importance.

3.Glenn Brown and Gerhard Richter initially started  painting about thefailures and limitations oftheir medium, yet their investigations haveresulted in their works negating否定 the very thing they set out to discuss. That is, they address the failure of painting but in successfully doing so demonstrate its enduring relevance持久的相关性 and success. I am exploring how Brown and Richter paint with the issue ofthe medium’s ‘failure’ and ‘limitations’ as their subject, yet paradoxically自相矛盾地 make works that demonstrate painting’sLegitimacy.(合法性) The legitimacy and success ofboth Brown’s and Richter’s work, is evidenced证明 by their practices being judged as relevant and important in the critical arena and is achieved by embracing a number of changes brought about by the ‘death ofpainting’ debate.

4.In Beauty and theContemporary Sublime (1 999), Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe identifies Duchamp as precipitating沉淀 the initial and most significant early twentieth century crisis for painting, through his ‘abolition废除 of the retinal视网膜的 in the interests of a very old-fashioned distinction区别 between form and content’ 废除视网膜的(视觉的?)对旧式的形式和内容的区别的兴趣?  (Gilbert-Rolfe 1999, 1 9-20)

5.His oeuvre工作(作品?)includes both realist and abstract series,  ranging from very blank monochromatic works to those based on photographs and imagesfrom newspapers and magazines. His photo-based works are what he is most well known for. In these he imitates the photographic source image, including blurs, smudges and other  photographic attributes. While his paintings have lead to much critical success, Richter’s  relationship with the medium creates a paradox悖论 for his practice. He has built a career upon‘testing the medium’s limits yet remaining one ofits most loyal adherents忠诚的信徒’ (Holert 2002, 98).

6. Brown addresses the question of the ‘failure of painting’ bysuggesting the ‘failure’ he recognises识别 means that all that remains for a painter to do is to paint someone else’s painting, not even allowing one’s own brushstrokes to prevail. However, by  removing himself so entirely from the process he makes a powerful statement about the  possibilities left for the medium he is simultaneously同时 abandoning废除 and embracing拥抱.  

7.Everything is linked together to confuse the issue of authorship by showing a deliberate appropriation ofwell-known art works by an artist who,nevertheless, has never painted like anyone else, although he shows that he would have liked to. He presents this “would-have-liked-to” as a conceptthat takes failure for granted: an artist must have a sense of humour – adistance from oneself– and be strong enough to push the existence of failure to the front line of his work (Hetzler 2000, 1 10).

8.But then my copy went wrong, and the pictures that finally emerged went to show that it just can’t be done any more, not even by way of a copy. All Icould do was break the whole thing down to show that it’s no longerpossible (Richter in Storr 2003, 226).

9.‘Painting is dead, killed by video and photography, the artist [Richter] intimates谈起 – and then proceeds收益 to paint magnificently to prove the point’ (Fischer 2002, 1). 

10. discussions about the failures and limitations of painting have been fuel for a generation of painters, who have disproved反驳 painting’s negation否定 by directly addressing the failure of their medium. 对绘画的失败和限制的讨论,已经成为一代艺术家的源动力,他们已经通过直接指出这媒体的失败之处,来反驳绘画的否定性。

11. Roland Barthes stated that, “To be modern is to know that which is notpossible any more” 

12.illustrating how they make reproductions from painting’shistory to make a case for painting’s future. (他们如何从绘画的历史中,重制?,来为绘画的未来做一个案例?)

13. by embracing all the other media that had bombarded轰炸 and taken over painting, these  other media, far from being threats, became tools that artists could use to make new and  relevant paintings. By embracingappropriation (which was initially used to illustrate thatthere was nothing left to do but imitate something already made), appropriation too went from being a threat to painting to being another tool that painters could use to make new andinnovative works. 

14.by re-acquainting重新熟悉 itself with the pre-Modernist attributes of romanticism浪漫主义 and romantic sentimentality感伤, painting was able to draw from is previously unfashionable past to ensure its future.  ???

15.Richter’s extensive body ofwork has always had one constant motivationby which it hasbeen driven: to question and challenge the medium of painting. 

16.Pressed by the critic (Buchloh) to admit that the tension张力 in his work between depiction描写 and self-reflection – in other words, the making of images and the critical examination of them – was set up in order “to show the inadequacy不足, the bankruptcy of both双方破产?” Richter replied, ”not the bankruptcy, but always the inadequacy不足,” after which he took care to stipulate规定 that he meant this “in relation to what is expected of painting” (Storr 2003, 15).

17.He began collecting photographs and newspaper and magazineclippings that were later exhibited as a collection (Atlas, 1964-1995), and also used as source ofmaterial to paint from (Kimmelman 2002, 5).

18. He has at once been painting’s greatest defender in the face of accusations指责 of its redundancy冗余, while also taking pains辛劳 to illustrate说明 his acknowledgment of its failures.(GR同时维护绘画,当其受到指责多余,但同时努力说明绘画的失败)

19.suggests that Richters unique perspective is a result of his havingbeen completely unprepared for the complex  developments of theTwentieth Century avant-garde (having trained in East Germany unaware of activity in the West until he moved there in the 60s) (Krauss 2002, 158).

20.Richter acknowledges this failure, yet Seigal suggests that what Richter attempts toshow us is that photography and video cannot do this either- ‘they have interruptions中断 oftheir own’ (Siegal 2002, 162). The maininterruption中断 could be seen to be the increased  subjectivity主观性 of photography and video (due to advancements进步 in digital technology). Media  that were once assumed假定是 to be reliable and objective are now subject to easy manipulation.  Recording information as a photograph is a process of ‘evening out’ everything,(通过照相来收集信息相当于把所有东西吞并,集合在一个平面上) as all theinformation in that photo is recorded equally in a ‘flat’ way. In producing the appearance of the photograph Richter is attempting 尝试to replicate复制 this device by blurring and softening the  image until it all appears to be one united flat surface.

21.I blur things to make everything equally important and equallyunimportant. I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsmanlike but technological, smooth and perfect. I blur things to make all parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess过量 of unimportant information (Richter 1993, 37).

22.Storr states that this flatness is a distancing mechanism隔离机构 aimed to keep Richter’s as well asthe viewer’s distance from the subject matter主题 (Storr 2003, 62). Historically, photo-realism in painting worked to create a distance between the viewer and the painting, due to由于the viewer’s inability无力 to relate to anything human in the construction构造 of the painting (Bourriaud 1992, 90). 
Richter employs this distancing device by eliminating any trace ofthe artist’s brushstroke,  creating an all over even blur or softness that obscures the image and conceals隐藏 how it isconstructed构造 (Storr 2003, 91). Often this blurring leaves traces across the painting and works to subtly巧妙 ‘conceal’ the images, but as Seigel suggests, perhaps it also animates活跃 the surfaces  creating a ‘conflict of stillness and movement静止和运动的冲突’ (Seigel 2002, 162).

23.His deliberately故意 austere严肃 works proposed提议 that the kind of sincerity诚意 in painting that was exploited开发 by the expressionists was no longer possible once painting had been overtaken by (印象派没前途)photography and video, provoking挑衅 the reduction减少 of painting to itsformalist roots形式主义根源 (Storr 2003, 92). However, as with all of Richter’s works in the construction ofthe paintings, born out ofa sense of nihilism虚无主义there grew增长 hope.

24.In theArtforum  debate David Reed sees these works together with the colour chart paintings as ‘a turning point from hopelessness to new possibility’ (Reed 2002, 159).

25. As Richter avoids aesthetic decisions by using readymade sources, thesepaintings, although very different in appearance from the photo-based paintings, share their philosophical underpinnings哲学基础. Richter absorbs aspects of photography into paintings rather than relying on the appearance of the photograph per se(Reed 2002, 159).

26.Richter talks extensively about his body ofwork and refers指 to these paintings as having‘failed’ and goes on to say that he chose to continue painting them to illustrate this ‘failure’.  [. .]But then my copy went wrong,and the pictures that finally emerged went to show that it just cant bedone any more, not even by way of a copy. All I could do was break thewholething down and show that its no longer possible (Richter 1993,226). 

27.could be seen to be a very Modernist thing to do – as it uses the idea of breaking down an image to reach  some kind of a conclusion.结论

28.What is past is only the set of circumstances that allowed it to be painted’ (Richter 1993, 80). 

29. all of these ways of painting can tell us as much about the medium’s future and the possibilities for painting as they can about themedium’s past and what cannot be done any more.这些绘画方式可以告诉我们所有关于这媒体的未来和可能性和过去和其不能再达到的。 The key is in acknowledging the things that they can not do, the things that have ‘died’, in order to give the medium a future.

30.Painting is no longer the dominant medium it once was. There is no urgent need to topple倾翻 it from its pedestal座位 when other practices have begun to crowd painting on an equal匹敌, or nearly equal, footing. Moreover, the new art forms championed支持 at its expense花费 have begun to show their age and accumulate积累 the burdens负担 that come with tradition in any medium (Storr 2003, 17). 新媒体已经变老?来自传统的负担?

31. it is important to have anunderstanding ofwhat these works were about to gain a better insight into

32. by replicating复制 this style of painting yet in a very different way from how it is normally made, Brown could be seen to be mourning追悼 a style ofpainting that can no longer be sincere真诚. Overly expressionist and  gestural painting is a hallmark标记 of high-Modernist painting that quickly lost its appeal呼吁 in the34  face of Minimalism and cool Post-Modern practice.

33.Then the photographgets turned into a print, which gets put in a book. I get that book and do mypaintings from it. Through those stages, the original person gets further andfurther back. Further and further lost, further removed. The whole notion that there was a character underneath the image kept me wanting to do them. Itwas that sort ofloss, as ifthey were ghosts (Brown in Myers 2000, 74).

34.Appropriation usually affords给予 the artist akind of distance, in that they are one step removed from the image because it is not their own. 

35.why Richters Titian copies failed – because the sincerity oftheoriginals was unable to be replicated复制 any more (Storr 2003, 104)

36.Perhaps what Brown and Richter highlight is the question – how can you paint seriously any more without a compelling引人注目的 purpose目的?

37.Everytime the avant-garde appropriates拨款 elements from the discourses of low, folk民间 or mass culture, it publicly denounces谴责 its own elitist isolation精英分离 and theobsolescence 过时of its inherited遗传 production procedures程序 (Brown in Lafuente 2004, 112).

38.The ‘death ofpainting'  debate now tends to represent代表 the ‘death’ of an older way ofthinking about painting and the  emergence紧急情况 of a new type of painting.

39.Whereas in the past painting was defined as the application ofpaint on canvas it now is more a ‘mode of thought than just a medium’ (Bradley in Daniel-McElroy 2003, 50).

40.Critic Katy Siegel states that other media, and in particular more technological media, capture the changing technology-driven world more successfully than painting (Siegel 2004, 162).Theorist Gilbert-Rolfe concurs赞成, proposing提出 that the difficulty for painting is that it will always struggle挣扎 to capture a technological based world because it itselfis本身 not technologically based.

41. the philosophy of  painting is permeating渗入 other media in order to sustain支持 its own.

42. Thierry DeDuve demonstrates this new positive was of looking at photography, when he states ‘What is a photograph, if not a readymadepainting?’ (De Duve in Danto 2003, 269).

43.In 1962 I found my first escape hatch逃生舱口: by painting from photographs, I was relieved ofthe need to choose or construct a subject [..] My appropriation of photographs, my policy of copying them without alteration and without translating them into a modern form (as Warhol and others do ), representeda principled avoidance of the subject (Richter 1993, 130)

44.Here, Richter calls usingappropriated images ‘liberating解放’, in that using found images to base his paintings on allowed him to concentrate on other aspects of painting. 

45.Perhaps appropriating  something that is seen to have ‘failed’ in the first place is an easier thing to do thatappropriating something that is universally普遍 revered尊敬. 

46.It is no  longer unacceptable or unfashionable to show a pleasure in painting, and furthermore, it is  now even accepted as a motivation for a body ofwork and an entire practice. 

47.  ‘[… ] critics are once again seeing the notions of pleasure and freedom buried in the tradition of idealist aesthetics美学 as valuable – in a vague模糊, ethical伦理 kind of way, if not politically. It may well be just this new licence for pleasure which has allowed painting to slip its moorings and leave offthe thoroughly彻底exhausted累 modernist terms of surface, depth, form, space; terms which were an onerous繁重 preoccupation关注 for the drippers滴管 and stretchers担架 of the mid 90s(Falconer 2003, 4).

48.The expansion ofthedefinition of painting to include other media, the expanded role of photography in painting, the shift in what it means to use appropriation, the re-acceptance of romanticism and  sentimentality伤感 and the inclusion包容 ofwomen, all demonstrate the changed nature ofpainting44         brought about by the ‘death ofpainting’ debate. 

49.A narrow way of thinking about painting has since been replaced by a broad and fractured approach that draws in and discards other media and concepts at will. 

50. The modernist logic ofpainting […] was tested测试 to exhaustion in the 50sand 60s: it is no longer ofmuch relevance at all. […] The fact ofcontemporary painting’s disorientating迷失方向 pluralism多元化, however, is surelyevidence of the fact that there are no central concerns, no governing管理 logic, in current practice at all (Falconer 2003, 270).  

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