For Large Ensemble and Computer and Film

Duration ~32minutes
Premiere Cologne Philharmonic 09.16.2016

Richters Patterns (2016), emerged as a collaboration between painter Gerhard Richter and Ensemble Musikfabrik, composer Marcus Schmickler and director Corinna Belz.

In 2011, Gerhard Richter created the artist book 'Pattern: Divided, Mirrored, Repeated'. For this project, Richter took an image of his work 'Abstract Painting (CR: 7244)' and divided it vertically into strips: first 2, then 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, up to 4,096 strips. With that in mind, Richter took photographs of segments of a new series of works, which were first exhibited in May 2016 in New York. Director Corinna Belz, known for her 2011 documentary, 'Gerhard Richter Painting', used these images to create a movie that wasn’t filmed with a camera but generated by a computer algorithm programmed for the project. The film, which lasts 32 minutes, consists of more than 60,000 individual frames that were produced, processed and then edited to create moving images. The film is compiled from numerous ornamental patterns. The structures gradually become more refined, culminating in a rapid movement of horizontal stripes.

The strong visual rhythm in Richter’s art is a frequent talking point, making it a logical step to add a layer of music to this cinematographic take on his work. You could even say that Marcus Schmickler’s music makes the optical pulse, arising from the animation of the images, audible. The music was not composed to an edited film, but instead Schmickler wrote the music in parallel with the film’s creation. The film and composition follow their own independent logic, at times creating friction between images and sound. Schmickler wanted to extend that method (mirror, divide, repeat) into the field sound and time instead of creating a score. Thus, the music develops at an extremely slow tempo, so the impression of a linear passage of time recedes into the background. Listeners experience these sounds as if they are looking at a painting.The music 'extends' Gerhard Richter’s experiment of decomposing a reproduction of one of his 'Abstract Images' into vertical stripes around the domain of sound and time.

This 'extension' takes place at the level of the material and the musical syntax. Form parts are repeated and mirrored in different scales. Complex chords are pushed further and further into each other on a vertical level until they produce microtonal lines. These repeat themselves and unfold again into the motivic, finally becoming audible as a spectrum augmented into the world of overtones.Furthermore, 'Richters Patterns' is a double 'extension' of Richter’s conception: also on the level of the cultural, the composition reflects the process to which the famous painter subjects and reworks his own material.

Commissioned by Koeln Musik, 2016

2018 07.06. Amsterdam Opening Concert Holland Festival
2017 05.19. Dresden Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlung
 05.06. Hannover Orangerie, Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen
 05.05. Hannover Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen
2016 09.16. Köln  Premiere Philharmonieon the occasion of Ensembles Musikfabrik's 25th anniversary