Daniel Richter: I Should Have Known Better

Daniel Richter Galerie Thaddaeus Ropace

An exhibition of new work by the German artist Daniel Richter, who has shaped painting in Germany since the fall of the Berlin wall. I Should Have Known Better is Richter’s first solo exhibition in London following the major mid-career retrospective which opened at the Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark, in 2016, and travelled to the 21er Haus in Vienna and the Camden Arts Centre, London in 2017.

This group of large-scale oil paintings constitutes the next experimental step in a visual language which the artist has developed throughout his career. Since his formative years in Berlin as an assistant to Albert Oehlen, Richter’s paintings have synthesised art history, mass media, politics, sex and contemporary culture into ever-changing pictorial worlds. Richter’s current style, which oscillates between figuration and abstraction, represents a radical departure from his former approach to painting, both in terms of subject and form.

Lines of crayon-oil contour patches of colour to reveal body-like shapes in seemingly pornographic poses: spread legs, arched backs, grasping hands and wide-open mouths can be deciphered. Richter explains: “My concern is with the surface, this flat, tangled, never-changing scheme of figure constellations, in and out”. The figures seem to levitate and collide. The cannibalising shapes convey a sense of abstraction, which is reinforced by the background’s subtle gradations of colours.

In the 1980s, before moving to the painter’s studio, Richter designed record sleeves and posters for German punk bands, and music continues plays an intrinsic role in his work today. He uses musical references to title his exhibitions and paintings –  I Should Have Known Better takes its title from the title of a 1979 song by the British Post-Punk band Wire – and music also acts as the framework for his painting process; “I don’t care about colours, it’s more like a sound that I think of”, Richter says, “there can be systemic elements, quiet elements, and variations on a theme.”

Duration 05 September 2018 - 29 September 2018
Cost Free
Venue Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Address Ely House, 37 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NJ
Contact 4402038138400 / polly.gaer@ropac.net / www.ropac.net


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