A Picture of absence and a youth’s portrait

Gerhard Richter, Jugendbildnis

Gerhard Richter, Jugendbildnis, photograph by Joachim Schulz from the series “aura”.

A couple of years ago I noticed a series of photographs named “Aura”  by photographer Joachim Schulz.  I have off and on remembered these pictures, but couldn’t remember who had made them.  I came across them again through the site GALERIE POLLER . What appealed to me about the pictures then and now is noticing the trace left behind – and about the possibility of art to transform place … to create a certain collective recollection of events…

Youth Portrait by Gerhard Richter

Jugendbildnis (Youth Portrait)

Gerhard Richter, 1988

67 cm X 62 cm, Oil on canvas

Who is this that the painting depicts ?

“She is a student from the 60s or 70s, a soulful look in her eyes, her hair over her forehead; the painting plays up the innocence of the pose. This is Ulrike Meinhof.” source


The painting of this youth looking innocent enough – harmless, sentimental, benign even – but then again -looks can be deceiving as Richter perhaps points out with his series October 18, 1977.  Ideology and the accompanying “isms” often get in the way of really seeing…

I went back and looked at the other pictures of missing pictures of the series “Aura” wondering if another thread might help me to appreciate the series – perhaps something about why these particular photographic situations – post hanging – might be of worth to photograph.  It’s not immediately apparent to me other than perhaps the pictures are all relatively well known – or by well known artists….    While I like the conceptual idea alluded to in the text describing the series, it leaves me wishing that the photographer Joachim Schulz, might have embedded more into the work – by choosing certain specific absent art pieces to tell a story.   Either way,  along similar lines  checkout more of Jachim Schulz work here – the curtains are very nice…


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