As an Interior: Reimagining Gerhard Richter’s Atlas
Keywords:Interiors, Architecture, representation, art
Gerhard Richter’s Atlas is a compilation of images arranged across 783 multi-image panels. Since its initial exhibition in 1972, it has been continuously expanded, amended and reorganised based on the volume of panels shown in each stage of its iteration. The serialisation of Atlas’s photographic register, its orthogonal schedule of panels (or sheets) grouped into blocks, is a by-product of its social, cultural and material conditions. It is built from ‘walls of images’ shaped by the architecture of a given room.[i]
Yet, Atlas is inherently an interior. Whilst Benjamin H. D. Buchloh’s reading of Atlas as a didactic model of display and/or mnemonic device, and Giuliana Bruno’s account of its emotive and/or filmic quality, are ways to navigate the work itself, this paper instead reconstructs its space of representation to critically reflect on the narrative sequences built in space. This paper reimagines Richter’s Atlas as an interior–a room of images where Atlas makes the architecture.
Rather than extending observations on Atlas as a retrospective of Richter’s artistic practice, the paper acts as a retrospective of its room(s). Moving beyond collecting, ordering and exhibiting images, this examination of Atlas detects the bond between surfaces, openings, sheets and subjects. Using ordinary orthographic methods, Atlas is inverted and drawn to trace the production and organisation of its framework for encounter and meaning. This depiction of space offers a way to see how Atlas constructs it. Lastly, the paper argues that this discursive practice, and the systematic form of Atlas itself, can bring about alternative ways of perceiving the work’s chronological, conceptual, and spatial, pathways.
[i] Ed. Friedel, H. 2016. Gerhard Richter: Atlas. Distributed Art Publisher, New York.
Helmut Friedel, ed., Gerhard Richter: Atlas (New York NY: Distributed Art Publisher, 2016).
Trang Vu Thuy, ‘The “Atlas” Exhibitions in the Lenbachhaus 1989 – 1999 – 2002 – 2005– 2013’, Landeshauptstadt München, visited June 24, 2021, https://journals. ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index. php/rihajournal/article/ view/70280/69947.
Friedel, Gerhard Richter: Atlas, 6.
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, ‘“Atlas”: The Anomic Archive’, October 88 (1999): 117, 118.
Lynne Cooke, Gerhard Richter (New York NY: Dia Centre for the Arts, 1995), no page number.
Christopher D. Johnson, ‘About the Mnemosyne Atlas’, Cornell University, last modified 2016, https://live- warburglibrarycornelledu. pantheonsite.io/about.
Buchloh, ‘“Atlas”’: 136. 08 Giuliana Bruno, ‘Film and Museum Architexture: Excursus with Gerhard Richter’s Atlas’, Atlas of Emotion (London: Verso, 2002), 331.
Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 331.
Dorothea Dietrich, ‘Gerhard Richter: An Interview’, The Print Collector’s Newsletter 16, no. 4 (1985): 130.
Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 322.
Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 322.
Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 332.
Iwona Blazwick, ‘Introduction’, Gerhard Richter Atlas: The Reader (London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2003), 8; Friedel, Gerhard Richter: Atlas, 6; Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 332; Cooke, Gerhard Richter." "15 Miguel Mesquite Duarte, ‘(Dis)Figuration of Memory In, Around, and Beyond Gerhard Richter’s Atlas: Between Photography,
Abstraction, and the Mnemonic Construction’, RIHA Journal 0200 (2018), https://journals. ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index. php/rihajournal/article/ view/70280/69947.
Duarte, ‘(Dis)Figuration of Memory.’
W. Griswold, G. Mangione and T. E. McDonnell, ‘Objects, Words, and Bodies in Space: Bringing Materiality into Cultural Analysis,’ Qual Sociol 36 (2013): 351.
Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (San Francisco CA: The Lapis Press, 1986).
Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube, 23.
Fabrizio Gallanti, ‘The project of display: Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewed by Fabrizio Gallanti’,
On Display 44 (2015): 118.
Cooke, Gerhard Richter.
Rosalind Krauss, ‘The Cultural Logic of the Late Capitalist Museum,’ October 54 (1990): 4.
O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube, 23.
O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube, 15.
Richter, Gerhard Richter Atlas, 17.
The notion of the strip can be traced back to Auguste Choisy’s study of the picturesque in the Greek polis. The strip, or ‘montage of individual images’, was used to describe the sequencing of images or ‘visual impressions’ experienced by
a visitor navigating the city. Martino Stierli, ‘Las Vegas and the Mobilized Gaze’, Eyes That Saw (Connecticut and Zurich: Yale School of Architecture and Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 2020), 157.
Jean-Christophe. Ammann, ‘A Few Modest Thoughts on the Prerequisites for Museums and Exhibits of Art, in particular
of Contemporary Art, and for Visitors to such Museums and Exhibits’, in Museums by Artists, edited by A. A. Bronson and P. Gale, (Toronto: Art Metropole, 1983), 18.
William. E. Cain, ‘Learning Not to Look: A Visit to the Rothko Chapel,’ Southwest Review 94, no. 2 (2009): 175.
Cooke, Gerhard Richter.
Helene Furián, ‘Scenes from a Museum,’ Grey Room 17 (2004): 65.
Academic Léa-Catherine Szacka traces this history back to the Prima Mostra Internazionale d’arte della città di Venezia (1895) — a multidisciplinary model for international exhibitions — later mirrored in Milan’s triennial (from 1933). Léa-Catherine Szacka, Biennials/Triennials: Conversations on the Geography of Itinerant Display (New York NY: Columbia University, 2019), 17.
Ronald Kolb, A. P. Shwetal and D. Richter, ‘Editorial’, OnCurating: Contemporary Art Biennials — Our Hegemonic Machines 46 (2020): 9.
Tina De Carlo, ‘Exhibitionism,’
Log 20 (2010): 157.
Sibylle Omlin, ‘Perform the Space: Performance Art (Re) Conquers the Exhibition Space,’ OnCurating: Performing the Exhibition 15 (2013): 4.
Ernst. H. Gombrich, The Story of Art (London, New York NY: Phaidon Press, Pocket Edition, 2006), 39.
Sam Jacob, ‘Rendering the Cave of the Digital,’ e-flux architecture, accessed December 9, 2020,https:// www.e-flux.com/architecture/ representation/167503/ rendering-the-cave-of-the- digital/.
Tina De Carlo, ‘Exhibitionism,’ 152." "38 Geert Lovink, ‘After the Social Media Hype: Dealing with Information Overload,’ e-flux journal #45 (2013), accessed April 15, 2021, https://www.e- flux.com/journal/45/60109/ after-the-social-media-hype- dealing-with-information- overload/ - :~:text=The “social media” debate is,to manage our busy lives.
Mark Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (Cambridge MA, London: MIT Press, 1995), 31.
Eva-Maria Troelenberg, ‘Images of the Art Museum,’ Images of the Art Museum: Connecting Gaze and Discourse in the History of Museology (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017), 7.
Troelenberg, ‘Images of the Art Museum,’ 7.
Walter Grasskamp, The Book on the Floor: André Malraux and the Imaginary Museum, translated by Fiona Elliott (Los Angeles CA: Getty Publications, 2016), 4.
Walter Grasskamp, The Book on the Floor: André Malraux and the Imaginary Museum, translated by Fiona Elliott (Los Angeles CA: Getty Publications, 2016), 4."
How to Cite
Author/s and or their institutions retain copyright ownership in the works submitted to the IDEA Journal, and provide the IDEA Journal of the Interior Design Interior Architecture Educators Association with a non–exclusive license to use the work for the purposes listed below:
- Made available/published electronically on the idea journal website
- Published as part of the idea journal online open access publication
- Stored in the electronic database, website, CD/DVD, which comprises post publication articles to be used for publishing of the Interior Design Interior Architecture Educators Association.
Reproduction is prohibited without written permission of the publisher, the authors or their nominated university. The work submitted for review should not have been published or be in the process of being reviewed by another publisher. Authors should ensure that any images used on the paper have copyright clearance.