Along with associates Viking Eggeling and Walter Ruttmann, Berlin-born Hans Richter (1888-1976) was one of the first visual artists to transfer his experimentation with form to film. Not that the canvas or the screen monopolised his interests, nor did he accept the confines of one movement, although he is remembered as one of the founders of Dadaism. In almost seven decades of creative endeavour, Richter also had vital connections to Expressionism, Constructivism, Futurism and Surrealism, and after the Second World War passed his filmmaking ideals on to a new generation of cinematic artists, including Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren and Jonas Mekas.
Encounters, a major exhibition covering Richter’s entire career, was held in Los Angeles last year and after a stopover in the Centre Pompidou Metz it begins again tomorrow in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau. This not only returns Richter to the city of his birth, but also to one of the venues of a 1929 touring exhibition entitled Film und Foto. Curated by Richter himself, it represented the most significant artistic innovations in still and moving photography that the age had to offer. Among the films common to both exhibitions is Richter’s Vormittagsspuk (Ghosts before Breakfast), made in 1928:
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