After watching Never Look Away and analyzing many of the paintings by Gerhard Richter, I believe the connection between reality and his paintings is that the paintings evoke the feeling and emotion of reality from the viewer. Two stills from the movie jumped out at me the most while watching the film, the scene when Kurt stands in front of the bus as they blare their horns and the scene when young Kurt puts his hand in front of his face as his Aunt Elisabeth is dragged away. In both of these scenes, “reality” seems to blur away, the sense of sight of what was happening in the moment disappeared. In both scenes, while his vision is blurred Kurt seems fully present in the emotion of the moment. In my interpretation, this is what his Aunt Elisabeth meant when she said “Never Look Away” ; allow yourself to be present in the moment and acknowledge the feelings that you experience. The effect of blur in Richter’s painting allows the viewer to explore their emotions within a fleeting moment of reality he creates. Richter’s painting have no intrinsic meaning or statement, so the viewer is allowed to use their feelings or life-experiences to interpret the blur in whatever way makes most sense to them.
Richter’s painting of Ulrike Meinhof’s dead body is not intended to depict the actual reality of her death. However, Richter’s painting of Meinhof allows the viewer to ignore the visual subject matter and replace the blur with their feelings about Meinhof and construct their own image within his painting. In the movie, Kurt is told to “Never Look Away” and with the blur in these paintings the audience isn’t forced to look away like they would if they were presented with an accurate image of Meinhof’s death. The blur creates an image that allows the viewer to be present in the moment contrasted from photography or realistic photos which leave no room for the opinions of the viewer.