French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard seemed to have it right, when he said that Postmodernism was just an extension of Modernism. Ideed, a strange paradox wraps us : we postmoderns did not really brake away from the modernism ideology of « breaking from the past ».
Against this cult of innovation, I decided to inscribe myself in one of the lineage of Romanticism. Following the line from Caspar David Friedrich to Gerhard Richter, I reactivate this nordic veneration for landscape.
Painting like the 19th century master, I reactivate what was said to be lost : the Sublime.
Clouds and fogs become the symbol of our quest for trancendence.
“I think the true cause of distress - in Japan, in the United States, and everywhere – over commercialization and so-called development lies in the sense of losing the ancient. Loss of the ancient means loss of the realization of the timeless in the present […] Currently one hears a lot of nonsense about nonattachment to things. We should be free of the need for particular forms and experiences […] It is with the old that we touch the timeless, the dimension that is neither old nor new.”
“And I do see myself as the heir to a vast, rich culture of painting – of art in general – which we have lost, but which places obligations on us”.
Gerhard Richter, The Daily Practice of Painting, p. 148
“A painting by Caspar Freidrich is not something of the past. What is past is only the set of circumstances that allowed it to be painted : specific ideologies, for example. Beyond that, if it is any ‘good’, it concerns us…It is therefore quite possible to paint like Caspar Friedrich ‘today’.”
Idem, p. 81
“I want to be like everyone else, think what everyone thinks, do what is being done anyway. I don’t want to be a personality or to have an ideology. I see no sense in doing anything different. I never do see any sense. I think one always does what is being done anyway (even when making something new), and that one is always making something new.”
Idem, p. 39
“Robert Storr : …How would you like to be understood ?
Richter : …Maybe as the keeper of tradition. (Laughter) Rather that than any other misunderstanding
Storr :As a guardian of an aesthetic tradition or as a guardian of a philosophical and moral tradition ?
Richter :Whatever you can get. (Laughter).
Gerhard Richter, interview avec Robert Storr, MOMA 2002, p. 309