His work deals with reality, which he translates into the language of painting.
Daniel Richter (1962) is regarded as one of the most important painters of his generation. He lives in Berlin and Vienna. Over the past three decades, and with an untiring creative energy and a great delight in experimentation, he has created a comprehensive oeuvre amounting to more than 1,000 works. Daniel Richter’s vibrant and multifaceted stream of paintings draws both from existing pictorial worlds and from inner visions – it is subjective and at the same time collective. By emotionally charging clichés from popular culture, the media, and stylistic elements from art history, Richter carries on the expressionistic gesture of immediacy in a conceptual way and once again questions the possibilities of painting, above and beyond stylistic definitions.
Daniel Richter’s artistic beginnings were originally in the field of the applied arts. In the 1980s he designed record covers and posters for bands. From 1991 to 1995 he studied painting at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. By engaging with the figuratively neo-expressionistic painting of artists like Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen, Richter went on to develop his own colourful way of painting, which was inspired by abstract-ornamental graffiti. From the outset, this exuded the punk attitude of Hamburg’s subculture.
Around the year 2000, Daniel Richter discovered figuration for himself. This enabled him to translate his experiences with, and his idea of the world into the non-verbal idiom of painting, albeit narratively. Inspired by newspaper photography and history books, he did large-scale history paintings similar to stage sets. Like allegories, these threw light on peripheral figures in society, on social dramas and on crucial historical events. In works like Dogs Planet (2002), Captain Jack (2006) or Fatifa (2005) he processed the violent social reality of demonstrations, war and flight in disturbingly surreal-psychedelic scenarios and nightmarish landscapes reminiscent of science fiction. Alongside his large social panoramas he also did small, more intimate paintings, symbolist self-portraits and still lifes that reflect the conditio humana today.
Since 2015 Richter’s repertoire of motifs and also his painting style have become increasingly more abstract. Motifs such as porno images from the media, or postcards of First World War invalids, seem to provide merely the initial impetus for an aesthetic engagement with formal means, such as colour, line and plane. The latter now seem to be to the fore. Yet the fruits of his latest work phase are anything but l’art pour l’art, although they still reflect the Zeitgeist of a crisis ridden and tense present, given that they are more abstract and less narrative. Not least they have a signal effect and captivate our senses, inviting us to think things through.
The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Tübingen, which is presented more in the form of a retrospective, is the first in many years to again provide a survey of Daniel Richter’s works in Germany – in all its facets. The exhibition has been organised in close collaboration with the artist and has been developed especially for the rooms at the Kunsthalle Tübingen. The main focus is on the figurative impulse in Daniel Richter’s work and on the question of how, again and again over the past three decades, the artist, through his figurative repertoire, has both thematically and stylistically re-addressed the relationship between man, body and society, as well as between internal and external reality.
Curator: Dr. Nicole Fritz