Monday, 29 September 2008

Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hazard.

Gerhard Richter 4900 Colours: Version II, 2007
Enamel paint on Aludibond
49 Panels, each 97 × 97 cm
La Collection de la Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la création
© 2008 Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter:

4900 Colours: Version II

Serpentine Gallery, London

23rd September – 16th November 2008

German painter and photographer Richter is exhibiting 49 paintings at the Serpentine which are composed of hundreds of blocks of flat colour. They were composed by a computer programme which calculated created an entirely chance configuration of tones. The gallery note informs us that a dice was then rolled by Richter to choose the orientation and positioning of the works in the gallery.

Standing in the central space of the Serpentine the blocks of colour give me the sense of being in a nursery. The statistical operations they represent lead me back to thinking about the power of number crunching data to rip huge wormholes in national economies when put into the hands of investment bankers. It also reminds me of a title: ‘Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hazard.’

Richter’s dice operation makes me think about Stéphane Mallarmé rich and strange poem. I don’t pretend to understand it but I looked it up this evening and was stunned again by its beauty. It's criminal to try and typeset it or translate extracts out of context so here are a few pages from the original French booklet:



even when cast in the eternal circumstance

of a shipwreck's depth

You can see the full image of the book here:

The full text in French and English here:

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