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Gerhard Richter’s Landscapes on a train ride.

July 17, 2012

Life imitates Art is an ongoing series of personal encounters with objects, people and landscape which an artist has so authentically captured in their own work as to own the subject matter beyond the veracity of the prima facie experience. Thus when confronted with the real, it reminds me of the interpretations rather than the other way around.

Travelling on a train in Germany has always been one of life’s great pleasures for me. Until this trip, I had never even considered any other form of travel within Germany, let alone Europe itself. The steady sound and the passing images induce a dreamlike environment wholly conducive to creative conjecture and imaginative flourishes. Last week, as I was winding my way from Frankfurt to Weiden, I luxuriated in the visual and audible rhythms of my bummelezug connection from Nuremberg to Weiden. A superb feeling of recognition flooded my senses. I was traversing a landscape of Gerhard Richter paintings.

Gerhard Richter, Buche, Beech, 1987, 82 cm x 112 cm
Oil on canvas
Catalogue Raisonné: 637-1

I have seen dozens of Richter’s landscapes over the years in gallery and museum exhibitions. Their beatific calm instills a wonder. And aside from their vast technical gift, they are timeless. Close to, but never indulgent of, nostalgia, these paintings offer straightforward and affectionate views of a Germany unaffected by history or politics. They are immensely hopeful pieces.

Germany seen from a train ride to Weiden, July 2012 Photo: Mario M. Muller

So as the real landscapes unfurled before me, there they were. I was travelling through a Richter world. A world Richter knew, captured and shared. The frames were the windows of my train. I, too, knew these landscapes but through his renditions. So, once again, a Life imitates Art moment filled me with delight.

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Next Stop on our European Adventure, Bregenz, Austria. Stay Tuned!

Mario M. Muller, July 15th, 2012, Weiden, Germany

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