Daniel Richter is one of the foremost German artists of his generation, whose practice has evolved over time to encompass notable stylistic turns. Richter’s paintings synthesize art history, mass media, politics, sex, and contemporary culture into ever-changing pictorial worlds. The artist maintains that the dichotomy between abstract and figurative painting is a constructed fiction, since the formal problems of color and composition remain constant. This framework for thinking about painting continues to inform the development of Richter’s approach. 

During his formative years in the 1990s, working as an assistant to Albert Oehlen, Richter looked to the radical history of abstraction and the freedoms it allowed, filling the canvas with a maximum amount of visual information. He later transitioned to figuration; drawn to conflicting themes in society, he began painting his reactions and observations using a mix of images, text, and narrative elements. Richter’s works from this period freely associate myriad references including current events, episodes from inner city life, comic books, dreams, and historical paintings. Violence, isolation, and awkwardness are indicated through a painterly language that deals in both absurdity and surrealism while experimenting with the boundaries of representation and abstraction. 

Starting 2015, Richter began to narrow the scope of his focus to the human form, with a new unmistakable approach that abandoned the vastness of previous scenes in favor of more direct compositions. In these paintings, the compression and tension between figures expresses a range of dynamics, proposing powerful intersubjective experiences through the convergence of forms. The interplay of strongly defined silhouettes and the subtle gradations of each background creates a balance between abstraction and figuration. The tension played out in Richter’s large-scale compositions is elevated by the colors and forms he uses and lends the works a ludic quality.

Daniel Richter (b. 1962 in Eutin, DE) lives and works in Berlin (DE). He graduated from the Hochschule für bildenden Künste, Hamburg (DE) in 1995, where he studied under Werner Büttner. A documentary about the artist was released in February 2023 directed by Pepe Danquart with B14 Film. GRIMM will present a solo exhibition of his work in New York, NY (US) in 2023, and the artist also has an exhibition with Kunsthalle Tübingen in Tübingen (DE). Richter’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues including: Furor II, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA (US); My lunatic neighbar, Space K, Seoul (KR); Limbo, Curated by Eva Meyer-Hermann, Museo Ateneo Veneto, San Marco, Venice (IT); Telegraph, Olomouc (CZ); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (DE); Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); CAC, Málaga (ES); Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (US); Taxispalais Kunsthalle Tirol, Innsbruck (AT); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (CA); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main (DE); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (DK); 21er Haus, Vienna (AT); Camden Arts Centre, London (UK); Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (DE); Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London (UK); Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA (US) and GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL) and New York, NY (US), amongst others. 

His work is included in many private and public collections such as Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig (DE); The Roberts Institute of Art (RIA), London (UK); Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (US); Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt am Main (DE); Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin (DE); Centre national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidou, Paris (FR); Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (DE); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (DE); Kunsthalle, Kiel (DE); Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart (DE); Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebæk (DK); Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg (FR); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (US); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (CA); Sammlung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Munich (DE) Sammlung Boros, Berlin (DE); Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg (AT); Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg (DE); Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main (DE); Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels (BE); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (NL), among others.