DANIEL RICHTER ‘SPAGOTZEN’ EXHIBITION AT GALERIE THADDAEUS ROPAC
Under the title Spagotzen, a neologism coined by the artist, the exhibition comprises fifteen works showing mysterious figures bathed in an artificial light typical of Richter, against a sometimes seismographically linear background. They seem like actors on a stage, engaged in strange kinds of interaction.
Richter’s new block of works is distinguished on the one hand by an innovative, graphic, almost secessionist style, the paint applied like varnish, and on the other by a novel orientation towards the world of symbolism at the turn of last century, the mysticism of Odilon Redon and Félix Vallotton’s compositions dominated by flat areas of black and white contrasts.
Daniel Richter studied 1992-1996 with Werner Büttner – one of the protagonists, along with Martin Kippenberger, of the revival of expressive trends in painting during the 1980s – at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts, and worked as assistant to Albert Oehlen. Initially, he did abstract paintings, with a cosmos of forms intensely colourful to the point of being psychedelic – somewhere between graffiti and intricate ornamentation. His orientation was divided equally between Surrealism, Underground and the intricate, elongated bodily forms of Italian Mannerism.
Since 2002 he has painted large-scale scenes filled with figures, often inspired by reproductions from newspapers or history books. These show conflict and menace in excessive aggression and vitality. Richter’s change to figurative painting was often acclaimed as a “Renaissance of the historical painting”.
However, while the classic historical painting relied on clear narrative with the aim of legitimising something contemporary by referring to some past event, Richter deals with the failure of social utopias.” I was interested in ways of referring to the world and to a world view that I wish to perceive or describe”, he said in 2007.
The exhibition runs through August 26, 2010 at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg.