On Watching Analogically: Gerhard Richter’s Process

Sometimes the things artists are doing outside of music remind me of the things musicians are doing inside of music.

In a video of Gerhard Richter at work we see how his painting is the result of many layers and a gradual process of adding and removing, adding and removing, adding and removing. Richter explains his rationale for his process.

“Everything you can think of—the feeblemindedness, the stupid ideas, the gimcrack constructions and speculations, the amazing inventions and the glaring juxtapositions—the things you can’t help seeing a million times over, day in day out; the impoverishment and the cocksure ineptitude—I paint all that away, out of myself, out of my head, when I first start on a picture…I get rid of that in the first few layers, which I destroy, layer by layer, until all the facile feeblemindedness has gone.”
– Gerhard Richter, Writings 1961-2007, “Notes, 1989”, p. 212-213, (DAP 2009).

On Olivier Messiaen’s Astonishing Chords

“It is…the denial of forward-moving time that is the generative and fundamental substance of Messiaen’s music: the matter of his verbal commentaries is no more than an explanation of the music…and conducted in terms other than those of the music.”
– Paul Griffiths, Olivier Messiaen and the Music of Time (1985, p. 17)