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GERHARD RICHTER PAINTING (photo © Hubert Becker)

The opening frames take us directly into the promised land – the artist's studio, his bright, clean, well-guarded workspace. A bustling production hall where Germany's preeminent post-war painter directs an army of assistants operating at peak capacity to satisfy the appetites of the global art market? On the contrary, we are given a fly-on-the-wall perspective to an intimate and highly personal artistic production process, as the coveted canvasses of one of the most productive and respected painters in contemporary art take shape. It is a quiet yet highly charged process of action and reflection, inner struggle and astonishing physical ease. The artist views a spontaneous first draft: "Hard to say. They could be better." We are often treated to Gerhard Richter's pithy comments, which reveal not only hard-won insight into life and art, but also wry humor, great humanity, and refreshing authenticity.

At the cutting edge of his field for five decades now, Richter works beyond the boundaries of trends and cynicism. Born in 1932, his first thirteen years were spent under the National Socialist regime, then came sixteen years of East German Communism, followed by nearly half a century of what Richter refers to here in old archive footage as "Capitalist Realism." He remains fundamentally skeptical of all belief systems and ideologies.

Filmmaker Corinna Belz uses the extraordinary access granted to her by the famously private artist to give us a rare, immediate insight into the genesis of a series of abstract paintings, from the first stroke of paint on canvas, through countless layers of overpainting, to the exhibition opening in New York.

GERHARD RICHTER PAINTING is a penetrating portrait of the artist at work. But it is also a film about seeing. Inspired and challenged by the critical eye of the artist, we are reminded that visual art, defying linguistic barriers, can be one of the most precious and complex means of expression available to human beings.
Genre Art
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2011
Director Corinna Belz
Screenplay Corinna Belz
Cinematography Johann Feindt, Frank Kranstedt, Dieter Stürmer
Producer Thomas Kufus
Co-Producers Christoph Friedel, Claudia Steffen
Production Company zero one film, in co-production with TERZ Film/Cologne, WDR, MDR
Runtime 97 min
Format 35 mm, color, 1:1.85
 German, English
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Toronto 2011, Cambridge 2011, Sofia 2012, DOC AVIV 2012, Planete Doc 2012, La Rochelle 2019
Awards German Film Award 2012 (Best Documentary)
With backing from Creative Europe MEDIA, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, MEDIA
German Distributor Piffl Medien

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