The documentary Gerhard Richter Painting, while painfully slow when compared to the frenetic cinematic efforts of Michael Bay, is worth watching for those looking for some rich insight into the creative process of perhaps the world’s greatest living painter.
What makes the film so compelling is watching the artist in action as he physically grapples to transform his enormous canvases into something compelling. It’s almost as if the canvases have some kind of life giving force and it’s Richter’s job to turn them into something that he describes as “good”. Richter’s definition of “good” is based on a fading, but almost encyclopedic knowledge of good and bad in art and covers color, shape, form and the indefinable element that’s sometimes called “magic”.
What’s especially interesting is to see how Richter lives with his paintings for a while and keeps coming back to them for days on end. Sometimes he responds by changing them completely, but he often simply ignores them. It looks like a torturous and painful process of elimination and growth.
In summary, it’s a powerful film that sheds light on the creative process and the intuition and judgment that goes into creating the indefinable.