GERHARD RICHTER

Gerhard_Richter_by_Lothar_Wolleh

[interviewer]: Typically, artists were encouraged to make a consistent body of work or to make a conscious progression from one idea to the next. What’s striking in your work is the apparent freedom you have given yourself to move from one idea to another without worrying about how the paintings will be received. How did you arrive at the sense that this was okay?

Gerhard Richter: I always hated those artists who were so consistent and had this sort of unified development; I thought it was terrible. I never worked at painting as if it were a job; it was always out of interest or for fun, a desire to try something. Other artists might paint pictures for a show. They say, “I still need large paintings.” When I was struggling financially, when I had trouble with Heiner Friedrich, I couldn’t be with the gallery any longer, and I had to leave. At that time, I became a teacher. I would do different jobs. I didn’t want to have to make paintings I would be paid for, nor did I want to have to be nice to a dealer–although I am very nice. [Laughter] But if you force me to do something, I can’t do it.