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Designs on the ContemporaryAnthropological Tests$
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Paul Rabinow and Anthony Stavrianakis

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226138336

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226138503.001.0001

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Gerhard Richter’s Pathos

Gerhard Richter’s Pathos

(p.105) Five Gerhard Richter’s Pathos
Designs on the Contemporary

Paul Rabinow

Anthony Stavrianakis

University of Chicago Press

This chapter takes up the work of the German painter Gerhard Richter as well as the critical apparatus and reception that has gathered around his artistic production as exemplary of a situation that can be taken up as contemporary. The chapter argues that Richter himself in his work as well as his elliptic commentary on his paintings and in his replies to his interpreters adopts a distinctive contemporary practice. He does so by tacitly focusing his work and his life on the issue of what to do with modernist technology? He invents an original and fluid technē tou biou that meets the challenge in an ongoing series of ways. His insistence that the past can be made actual, although never in a stable and satisfactory manner instantiates Aby Warburg’s concepts of Nachleben and Pathosformel. By so doing he demonstrates one mode of contemporary practice thereby opening up a clearer path for other modes of invention with different materials and practices—including anthropology

Keywords:   Gerhard Richter, Technē, Technē tou biou, Pathosformel, Nachleben, Actual, Contemporary

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