How can one depict the Holocaust? Gerhard Richter dealt with this extremely complex question in his 2014 cycle Birkenau, by which time he was already considered the most important contemporary artist, having further cemented this reputation. He transferred four photographs from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp to large-format canvases and painted over them with many layers of paint until they became abstract images. A four-part mirror facing the canvases is part of the cycle, allowing viewers to enter »into the work«. Birkenau is the central work in the exhibition Gerhard Richter. 100 Works for Berlin at the Neue Nationalgalerie, which depicts many aspects of Richter's oeuvre. The presentation will be open for three years beginning April 1.
The Gerhard Richter Kunststiftung has given 100 works to the Neue Nationalgalerie on long-term permanent loan. Photographs transferred to canvas and painted over are among Richter's trademarks. 60 works of this kind are part of the exhibition, joined by other individual pieces such as abstract paintings from recent years. Richter was born in Dresden in 1932 and made a name for himself in the 1960s with photorealistic painting and in 1988 with the cycle October 18, 1977, also known as the RAF cycle. He is considered one of the world's most famous and important contemporary artists.