Pioneer German artists peer into modernism

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Pioneer German artists peer into modernism


Gerhard Richter and A.R. Penck are two renowned German contemporary artists who profoundly influenced art in the second half of the 20th century. Now they’ve united, at least for one show: 30 of Richter’s works and 37 paintings by Penck are on display at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi province.
Born in Dresden in 1932, Richter studied at the Dresden Art Academy in East Germany. A few months before the erection of the Berlin Wall, he fled to Dusseldorf in West Germany and then studied at the state academy there.
Richter’s debut exhibition in 1963 was the first to show photo-based paintings. The blurry paintings combining modern with traditional art techniques and photography looked tantalizingly close to reality.
“I did not use photography as a substitute for reality, but as a support to it... I needed the most objective photo to correct my way of seeing,” he said. “When I draw, for example, an object from life, I begin to stylize it and modify it so that it corresponds to my vision of things and my training. When I copy a photo, however, I can forget all the criteria of that training and, so to speak, paint against my will.”
The 30 pieces on display are from the Boeckmann Collection; their value is estimated at 70 billion won ($72 million).
A.R. Penck was born Ralf Winkler in Dresden in 1939. Penck created artistic codes comprising archetypal symbols and basic forms, making him one of the pioneers of Neo-Expressionist painting. His strong interest in scientific problems, mathematics, theoretical physics and later n cybernetics, information and systems theory influenced his paintings. He experimented with pencils and chalk, creating drawings of strokes, dots, crosses, arrows and spirals.

by Limb Jae-un

The exhibition opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m., and runs until April 30. Tickets cost 1,500 won ($1.50) to 3,000 won. Get off at Seoul Grand Park station, Line No. 4, exit 4. Shuttles between the Museum and the station run every 20 minutes.
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