Pugliaindifesa History Historical picture: “September” by Gerhard Richter, 2005

Historical picture: “September” by Gerhard Richter, 2005


Sometimes it is premature to call a significant event a turning point in history. 9/11 and its aftermath, the war on terror and so on rightly deserve to be called such. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Islamic extremists from a group called al-Qaeda hijacked commercial aircraft and carried out one of the most sinister suicide attacks against business and military installations in the United States. In truth, the September 11 attacks can also be called an attack on America. In short, four coordinated aircraft attacked targets on the East Coast of the United States. Two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The third plane nose-dived into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, located near Washington, DC; and a fourth plane crashed in a rural area near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers tried unsuccessfully to wrest control of the plane from the terrorists. In total, nearly 3,000 people died that day. After that, President George W. Bush developed a major new anti-terrorism policy that is still being felt throughout the world today.

When I decided to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I didn’t want to follow the same path that so many others had been on in the weeks leading up to today because I felt like we were flooded and/or soaked in so many events. . information. Instead, I turned to my series of history drawings to see if I could find something that illustrates or evokes memories of 9/11 from a different or perhaps personal point of view. Imagine my amazement when I found something so perfect and unique.

It’s just a name on his picture September, The German visual artist Gerhard Richter, often regarded as one of the most important contemporary of our time, may have created the first important historical painting of the 21st century. In doing so, Ritchter appears to have single-handedly revived a long-lost form of painting that was once extremely popular in the 19th century. Interestingly, Richter’s historical picture of 9/11 is relatively unknown to the general public. In 2009 September was donated to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and I have to admit that a few weeks ago I didn’t even know it existed. It is my understanding that real oil on canvas, 28 1/3 x 20 ½ inches (72 x 52 cm), has never been exhibited. Richter made printed versions of it, which he sold from time to time.

Historical painting by Richter September is a direct response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers. He decided to focus on the Twin Towers because on September 11, 2001, Richter was on board a flight bound for New York when the second plane crashed into the South Tower. His flight, like many others that day across the United States, was abruptly changed and landed at the nearest airport. It wasn’t until he arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia that Richter discovered what had happened. Like millions around the world, Richter watched the horrific events of 9/11 before flying home to Germany two days later. Four years later, in 2005, Richter was still moved by the events of 9/11 and decided to commemorate the event with a small painting. At one point, Richter became disgusted with the results while trying to draw the Twin Towers on fire. He almost shelved the painting, believing it to be too real and offensive, but instead of giving up, Richter peeled off most of the fire paint and covered the towers with gray paint.

It is said that by blurring the picture with an abstract veil, Richter makes the event less traumatic. The vague sight of a second plane exploding on impact with a second tower seems almost acceptable even to those who still suffer from PTSD, and especially to those who have lost loved ones. Moreover, I believe that this obscuration of the picture helps us to take a fresh look at the events of 9/11.

If I leave the reader a final note on this matter, I leave it to the American curator and art historian Richard Storr, who understands Richter and his work better than anyone else on earth. In his book September: historical painting by Gerhard RichterStorr wrote:September perpetuates the events of September 11, 2001, as well as everything that led to them, and everything that has followed since then and can be called a consequence, keeping everything in eternal suspension and unresolved tension.

Photo credit: The header image is a 2009 engraving by Gerhard Richter of his painting. September. Courtesy of the Gerhard Richter and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris. I am using this image for fair use purposes for non-commercial, research and educational purposes. It also allows me to make an important contribution to the reader’s understanding of an article that is almost impossible to put into words.

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