Chance, Trace and Glass Painting: Photography in Richter's 'Sinbad' and "Aladdin'
While Gerhard Richter's paintings are commonly considered in relation to photography, such discussions centre upon his figurative photopaintings. I argue that his diverse oeuvre, including his abstract works, can be understood as engaging with photography and as articulating debts and differences across mediums. This paper extends this argument to some of Richter's most recent works that are also among his most abstract, the series Sinbad (2008) and Aladdin (2010). These paintings, said to respond to the story of One Thousand and One Nights, show the mass and substance of paint-vivid, smeared and sandwiched between glass sheets. Like much of Richter's work, they draw attention to the stuff of paint as immediate and physical. At the same time, they connect to the history of painting on glass and its place in a very different type of art. More curiously still, they connect us to tropes and concepts that are central to the photographic, that is, to spontaneity, indexicality, authenticity and reproducibility.