Nanotech, Blur and Tragedy in Recent Artworks by Gerhard Richter
Nielsen, Kristian Hvidfelt
Vol. 41, Num. 5
Bringing the postmodern crisis of representation to the nanosphere, Nielsen analyzes Gerhard Richters recent artistic appropriation of nanotech images for their commentary on social understanding of nanotechnology and the problematization such treatment engenders. Richters penchant for blurred photography that contribute[s] to the destabilization of the historical and visual truth, such as his Baader-Meinhof work, is brought to bear on a series of nanoscale images, amongst them Erster Blick, Graphit and Strontium. Neilsen says that Richter not only calls into question the validity of scientific fact through this method but, through invoking terrorism and nuclear war, reminds his audience of technologys role in destroying as many humans as it aids. The terrorism point is more one of location within Richters Atlas sheets, and not one of an actual nanoscale picture, but the point remains throughout that the artists work leads one down the path toward questioning the truth and validity of nanotech images through a blurring of the lines between factual representation and artistic rendering.