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Dispatches from Moments of Calm

On October 5, 2012, the German national newspaper Die Welt published its daily issue—but things looked . . . different. Quieter. The sensations of the day, forgotten as soon as they’re read, were missing, replaced with an unprecedented calm, extracted with care from the chaos of the contemporary.

That calm was the work of Gerhard Richter, who had been granted control over Die Welt for that single day, taking over and imprinting all thirty pages of the newspaper with his personal stamp: images from quiet moments amid unquiet times, the demotion of politics from its primary position, the privileging of the private and personal over the public, and, above all, artful, moving contrasts between sharpness and softness. He had created an unprecedented work of mass art.

Among the many people to praise the work was writer Alexander Kluge, who instantly began writing stories to accompany Richter’s images. This book, the second collaboration between Kluge and Richter, brings their stories and images together, along with new words and artworks created specifically for this volume. The result, Dispatches from Moments of Calm, is a beautiful, meditative interval in the otherwise unremitting press of everyday life, a masterpiece by two acclaimed artists working at the height of their powers.

192 pages | 64 color plates | 5 1/2 x 7 3/4 | © 2016

The German List


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“On October 5, 2012, the German newspaper Die Welt allowed the painter Gerhard Richter to substitute the day’s photographs of horror for his own images. The writer Alexander Kluge has now accompanied these aggressively quotidian photos with short texts. The stories are comet-like fragments that whistle through the European past and present: from the mating habits of pigeons in the cities to a medieval subject hiding from his prince in a horse's carcass.”

Thomas Meaney | Times Literary Supplement

“Over and over again in this marvelous book, Richter and Kluge startle us out of our sense of the present—the ‘now-time’ of newspapers and their ‘matrix of topicality’—by pointing toward ways of being and connecting that make ‘time outside [stand] still.’”

Aveek Sen | Telegraph India

“Kluge’s mosaic doesn’t feel like a refuge so much as a reminder of the real world, the whole real world, surprisingly connected to itself, as full of thought as of accident, all of it worth living in, and worth (though Kluge is patient and irenical) a fight.”

Jeff Dolven | Paris Review

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