Daniel Richter's work pushes the boundaries of painting as a medium. In his new series, he has succeeded in presenting the viewer with something completely new and distinctive, not to say idiosyncratic.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg is delighted to announce Daniel Richter's solo exhibition Half-Naked Truth, which will open on Saturday 23 January 2016. The artist will be present. His new works are divided into two groups, which were created in parallel during the past two years, and which are now – after the exhibition in the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt – on display for the first time in a non-institutional setting.
While the clearly defined zones of the works in the first group are reminiscent of topographic cartography, the compositions of the second suggest figurative scenes indicating male and female, archetype, fragmented bodies in various kinds of interaction. Common to the works is an expressive colourfulness with marked contrasts; thus the paintings remain in the tradition of an aesthetic principle characteristic of Richter's earlier works. Overall, however, the colours have changed; they are now lighter, with more pastel shades.
Daniel Richter's work pushes the boundaries of painting as a medium. In his new series, he has succeeded in presenting the viewer with something completely new and distinctive, not to say idiosyncratic. Earlier series combine inspiration from a variety of styles with the discourse on iconic representations in art history. His new works have moved away from, and far beyond this manner of thinking and painting. His works have always had current relevance, strongly related to their present time, and often forward-looking, but these new pictures seem to press even further forward.
They deal with closeness and movement, an impression created not only by the arrangement of the colour fields. The colourful compositions have a lightness comparable to clouds drifting together to form shapes. The oil crayons Richter uses here for the first time lend the outlines of the oil painting a subtle ambivalence, sometimes even a crude demarcation which, apparently effortlessly sketched, intensifies the reciprocal effect between the individual dominant and receding parts of the pictures.
The pictures, resembling maps, have clearly defined colour fields on a wide variety of grounds. There is none of the classic distinction between fore- and background, but only an indeterminate space on which the colour fields float, organically distinct, as in a cell structure. Yet the colour fields also crowd one another, as though they were competing for space.
By breaking with his former painting method, Daniel Richter has developed a new pictorial language. The result is two separate series which have nothing in common in their interpretation, but both of which emerge from the break with formal ideas: "Painting the pictures was a relatively long process, during which I was searching for a solution that interests me to problems that interest me. Then I took very simple decisions – for instance, not painting with a brush. I realised that when I'm using a brush – whether I hold it stiffly or limply, energetically or lightly – I am always driven to do what's familiar, and that's exactly what I wanted to avoid. [...] It's interesting to see how much this can be applied to various forms as a method rather than a style, and whether something new can emerge as a kind of commitment, between HOW and WHAT" (Daniel Richter, 2015).
The arrangement of the various canvases in Daniel Richter's studio is often reminiscent of experimental arrangements. His painting style has developed into an experiment with diverse parameters, which is not successful until it captures the artist's attention beyond the actual result and raises new questions. At that point the paintings almost spring up, as though they had been waiting to achieve their present form. Discarding, overpainting or deletion are just as much part of the process as specifically directed and detailed completion.
After extensive solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Kiel, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (both in 2001), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2005) Kunsthalle Hamburg and Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (both 2007), CAC Málaga, Denver Art Museum (both 2008) and Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2011), the Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck (2014) and the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2014/15) devoted monographic exhibitions to Daniel Richter's work. From October 2016, a comprehensive retrospective will be held at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek.
Daniel Richter's works are on show in renowned collections worldwide, such as the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Kunsthalle Kiel, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Nationalgalerie Berlin, Kunsthalle Stuttgart, Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig, Gemeente Museum, The Hague, Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, MoMA New York, Denver Art Museum and Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain Strasbourg.