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Biography

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. 

Richter’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues including: 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 has been included in group exhibitions at: Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK); Hall Art Foundation, Derneburg (DE); Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (US); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (IE); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (DE); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (DE); Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki (FI); Mori Museum of Art, Tokyo (JP); Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg (AT); S.M.A.K., Ghent (BE); The Saatchi Gallery, London (UK); Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (IT), and Kunsthalle, Basel (CH) and many other venues.  His work is included in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (US); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (FR); Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin (DE); Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main (DE); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (CA); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (DE); Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (US), Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (DK); Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, (FR); Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg (AT), among others. 

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