Born out a practice of destruction was Gerhard Richter’s ‘Cage’ series of six paintings from 2006. Invigorated by the dynamic bodily movements of the artist, Richter’s monumental ‘Cage’ canvases are rich in texture and captivating in their depth of colour. Emotive, layered and full of selected accidents, the ‘Cage’ series pays tribute to the great experimental composer John Cage (1912-92) 

Richter intended for the canvases of his ‘Cage’ series to be painted after photographs of atomic structures, but unexpectedly initiated a practice of unpainting when he became displeased with its trajectory. Constantly masking underlying compositions, he proceeded to push and pull seemingly endless layers of paint across the surfaces of his canvases in horizontal or vertical bands using his self-fashioned squeegee. The bands of silver, red, green, yellow, white and blue are themselves intermittently destroyed by the picks of Richter’s scraper. His methodical approach to chance involves selective accidents; repeating his process until he believed the paintings to be finished, Richter chose the accidents he wanted to keep and obscured those he did not with yet another layer of paint. Together these techniques produce sensuous textures while revealing the obscured layers beneath, creating a sense of depth and setting free exciting bursts of colour 

Richter has a sustained interest in Cages pioneering practices, having listened to his music whilst painting the ‘Cage’ series, and finds a philosophical partner in the avant-garde composer’s statements such as ‘I have nothing to say and I am saying it’. Indeed, Richter’s aesthetic of chance is situated in dialogue with the percussive sounds of Cage’s compositions, which emerge in the gritty textures and crackling paint of the ‘Cage’ canvasesPerhaps most importantly, ‘Cage’ conveys a comparable attempat saying nothing in Richter’s effort to communicate paint’s profoundly versatile and evocative vision.



Edition Size



100 x 100 cm


Diasec-mounted Giclée print on aluminium composite panel


We estimate that the earliest completion date for delivery will be three weeks from the date of purchase. Timing is dependent on COVID-19 restrictions and delays.


Numbered on the reverse

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