The question of how painting can react to the political, social, and media realities of today serves as starting point for Richter’s artistic work. Through the intersection of art historical, mass media and popular culture clichés, Richter creates idiosyncratic worlds and images of unstable realities.
Lonely Old Slogans traces Richter’s early, colour-intensive abstract improvisations through to his later figurative works, which are described by the artist as a new form of history painting. Featured are expressive works from the 1990s, such as Havanna (1997), which reflect his occupation as a designer of album covers for various punk rock bands, as well as key theatrical narrative scenes including Tarifa (2001), and Francis, the Cheerful (2015) which illustrates a more recent return to experimental abstraction.
Since 2000, Richter has painted scenes filled with figures, often inspired by reproductions from newspapers or history books. Many of these large-scale pieces have a stage-like structure and reveal narrative elements that cast the viewer as an observer of an often mysterious or menacing occurrence. With their intense colours, some works resemble dream sequences while at the same time referencing contemporary history. These works convey the complex atmosphere of a moment, rather than depicting historical events or celebrating political utopias, foregrounding the contradictions and complexities of our times.
Richter’s paintings are both thematically and formally related to German Expressionism and painters such as Max Beckmann (1884-1950) and George Grosz (1893-1959), who in the years before World War II painted acerbic, humorous and profoundly socially critical, allegorical pictures. Richter takes a similar approach to painting which, according to the artist, is always ideologically positioned in relation to the surrounding world.
Lonely Old Slogans is organised by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, in collaboration with 21er Haus, Vienna, and Camden Arts Centre, London. His exhibition at Camden Arts Centre is supported by the Daniel Richter Exhibition Circle, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Regen Projects, and Vitsoe.
Daniel Richter (b.1962, Eutin, Germany) is based in Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna. From 2004–6 he was professor of painting at UdK Berlin. Since 2006, Richter has held a professorship at Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna. Richter’s works are held by museums including the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Kunsthalle zu Kiel in Germany. He has had solo exhibitions at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2015), kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2011), Museum der Moderne: Rupertinum, Salzburg (2010), Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuberg, Austria (2009), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2007), Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2007), Denver Art Museum, Colorado (2007), and Kunstmuseum Basel – Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Switzerland (2006). He has also participated in Kids at Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2012), and Uwe Lausen, Daniel Richter at Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2006).