August 29, 2013 - Centre Pompidou-Metz - Hans Richter
August 29, 2013

Hans Richter

Hans Richter, Blauer Mann (Blue Man), 1917. Oil on canvas, 61 x 48.5 cm. Courtesy Kunsthaus Zurich, Gift of Frida Richter, 1977. © Hans Richter Estate.

Hans Richter
The Crossing of the Century
September 28, 2013–February 24, 2014

Centre Pompidou-Metz
1, parvis des Droits-de-l’Homme
Metz, France

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Centre Pompidou-Metz presents the first major retrospective in France of the drawings, paintings and films of Hans Richter (1888–1976).

Hans Richter. The Crossing of the Century traces more than fifty years in the artist’s career and collaborative practice, and includes works by Jean Arp, Theo van Doesburg, Marcel Duchamp, Viking Eggeling, Max Ernst, Marcel Janco, Fernand Léger, Kazimir Malevich, Man Ray, Gerrit Rietveld, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Tristan Tzara. Richter’s path shapes and tells by itself an art history of the twentieth-century in its social, political and formal dimensions. Alongside major avant-garde works of the twentieth century, the exhibition shows a vast body of documents such as photographs, books and journals.

The life of this versatile artist was caught up in the sometimes tangled thread of twentieth-century history. He was in Munich at the time of the Spartacist uprising, then in the USSR in the early 1930s. He was forced to flee Nazi Germany for Holland, France and Switzerland. During the Second World War he found refuge in the United States.

Filmmaker, draftsman, painter, writer and editor of periodicals, Hans Richter was at the confluence of avant-garde art from the 1910s. He was also a pioneer of experimental film. Rythmus 21 is a brief, three-minute film which Richter made in 1921, and which transports to the screen the radical and poetic qualities found in Malevich’s White on White—indeed, Malevich and Richter worked together in the 1920s.

Film is a catalyst in Hans Richter’s protean oeuvre; it is a meeting point where various media—painting, drawing but also typography, photography, even architecture—interplay. The films which Richter made using vast painted scrolls, derived from Chinese painting, influenced the modern architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Gerrit Rietveld. Hans Richter. The Crossing of the Century reveals this permeability between forms, and examines perception and interpretations of moving images within the museum space. It also traces the importance of film in twentieth-century art which Hans Richter pioneered.

The exhibition retraces Richter’s crossing of the century, from Dada in the 1910s and 1920s to its documenting in words and images by Hans Richter in a new role as the historian of the avant-garde of the 1920s and of his own time. From Dada experienced firsthand to a reconstituted Dada, the exhibition looks at the passing of time, political and artistic engagement, history and the repetition of history.

Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Centre Pompidou-Metz, the exhibition is presented at LACMA with the title Hans Richter: Encounters from May 5 to September 2, 2013. After its venue at Centre Pompidou-Metz, it will be shown at Martin-Gropius-Bau from March 27 to June 30, 2014.

Timothy O. Benson, Curator, Rifkind Center, LACMA, Los Angeles
Philippe-Alain Michaud, curator at Musée national d’art moderne / Centre Pompidou, Head of the Experimental Film Department

Associate Curator: 
Cécile Bargues, art historian

Current exhibitions

Views from above
Until October 7, 2013
The exhibition considers how the vertical view, from the first aerial photographs of the 19th century to satellite imagery, has transformed artists’ perception. In some five hundred works, it offers a singular and spectacular view of modern and contemporary art.

Beat Generation / Allen Ginsberg 
Until January 6, 2014
Centre Pompidou-Metz presents the Saga of the Beat Generation, via the manuscripts, books, films, photos, live performances of Allen Ginsberg and his associates—Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs…—in a large-scale digital exhibition, the first of its kind.

Only 82 min via high-speed train from Paris.

Centre Pompidou-Metz
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