The artist has translated the associated materiality of soft skin against sharp blades into a new visual language, drawing on the stark tactile contrast inherent in the myth, rather than the narrative itself.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg presents So long, Daddy., an exhibition of new paintings by Daniel Richter, influenced by scenes of Greek mythology and, in particular, the flaying of Marsyas, a satyr who was punished for challenging Apollo. The artist has translated the associated materiality of soft skin against sharp blades into a new visual language, drawing on the stark tactile contrast inherent in the myth, rather than the narrative itself.
I find artworks, especially paintings, most interesting when they seek to convey something to the viewer that is not entirely translatable through language, or even reason. When art fulfils its promise, it expands something within us, and it offers some kind of truth – whatever construction that may be. – Daniel Richter
In this new series of large-scale canvases, anthropomorphic figures and tangled limbs are depicted through lines and fields of colour suspended in an obscure, unresolved space. This stirring turmoil, set against flat pictorial backgrounds, comprises subtle gradations of colours ranging from warm, rusty oranges and bright yellows to iridescent blues reminiscent of sky or ocean. While their backgrounds recall polychromatic fantasy landscapes, which nonetheless elude spatial orientation or understanding, the figures seem to levitate and intertwine in violently distorted poses that convey a sense of abstraction.
The exhibition’s title, So long, Daddy., refers to the artist’s personal sense of the absence of a guiding male figure within himself. Instead, he describes himself as being driven by two opposing female forces: the voice of a little girl and an older mother figure, each offering their respective views on the world, one light-hearted and the other realist and sardonic in tone.
In this new body of work, the artist continues to explore the extremes of balance, in the relationships between dark and light and the contrasts between colours. He explains: The dynamic in my work is mainly based on pushing and shoving, or on elements that are being confronted by each other – mingling, pushing, pulling. Despite the underlying violence, the powerfully polychromatic works convey a touching sensuality and beauty that effectively counterbalance this relentless energy.
Richter's works to date have demonstrated an impressive complexity and versatility, since his style is constantly changing while still remaining true to his basic principles. [...] With their dazzling colors and pulsating insistence, their latent aggressiveness and wealth of edgy effects, his works are nonetheless immediately recognizable as such. Richter’s works interlock set pieces of art history, the mass media, and pop culture to create idiosyncratic pictorial worlds. – Max Hollein