German artist Gerhard Richter is one of the most influential artists alive, his career spanning more than half a century, covering almost every style and genre. The first major exhibition of his work in Australia, Gerhard Richter: The Life of Imagesat Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art, finally brings some of the artist’s most important work to our shores.

The exhibition, which features works drawn together from public and private collections in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, including the artist’s own collection, was curated by Dr Rosemary Hawker from Griffith University and Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow from QAGOMA and will feature works such as Richter’s iconic portrait Reader, his vivid Orchidand his quartet of abstract panels Birkenau, painted over photographs from Nazi extermination camps.

Gerhard Richter, Reprise, Opera Queensland, QAGOMA Opera Queensland’s Patrick Nolan with QAGOMA curator Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow and Gerhard Richter’s  Abstract painting(726) ,1990.  Photo © Stephanie Do Rozario.

So what is it about Richter’s work that draws people in? “It’s highly emotional,” Barlow says. “He’s known for having this almost photo-realistic style, but then it has this slight blur – like you’re looking at a photograph out of focus.”

Richter also creates large-scale...