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Daniel Richter has His First Retrospective in Spain
View of the Daniel Richter exhibit CAC Málaga 2008 Photo: José Luís Gutiérrez, Courtesy CAC Málaga.

MALAGA.- For the first time in Spain, CAC Málaga, the Contemporary Art Centre sponsored by Malaga City Hall, presents the work of the prestigious German artist Daniel Richter, who is one of the leading points of reference in contemporary German painting. The exhibition contains 23 large-format oil paintings and 6 small-format ones. It is jointly organised by CAC Málaga and Bancaja and is on display until 13 July.

CAC Málaga brings the first retrospective exhibition on Daniel Richter to Spain. This exhibition brings together a selection of the most representative works done by the artist between 1995 and 2006, as well as some never-before-seen small-format sketch paintings.

In the words of CAC Málaga’s director Fernando Francés, this exhibition offers the first exhaustive review of Richter’s work and, also for the first time, a selection of small-format pieces which are very exploratory by nature and are like a personal diary. […] Over the years, CAC Málaga has attentively observed the evolution of German art, demonstrating this with exhibitions on Daniel Richter, Neo Rauch, Meter Zimmermann, Anne Berning, and an exhibition we will inaugurate next autumn on Matthias Weischer.

Richter’s paintings are full of figures that are often inspired by images from newspapers and history books, and explore the threats facing the human race with extraordinary intensity.

Richter’s work is closely linked to society and shows an extremely high awareness of contemporary political events. One of the recurring themes in his work is the failure of the modern utopia, and yet he also regularly (and sometimes indirectly) refers to political themes such as violence and immigration.

Richter’s paintings have been considered a “rebirth of historical painting”. He is inspired by the great master painters, and yet his new painting style differs from the traditional in the sense that while traditional painting was open to only one interpretation, Richter’s images are much more ambiguous. The artist intends to awaken feelings and concerns in the spectator, who is unable to passively contemplate his art. Richter’s work expresses an idea of “making things his own”, as can be seen with his use of large-format paintings, an inheritance from new contemporary American painting.

A constant ambivalence is seen in his work, provoking the idea that his paintings are puzzles that challenge the visitor’s imagination and knowledge of politics.

The work of this great German artist has evolved over the course of his career. In the beginning, his works were abstract and he used bright colours with a somewhat psychedelic style, somewhere between graffiti and decorative art. Some of his points of reference have come from Surrealism, the underground scene and the intertwined grotesques of Italian Mannerism. The coming of the new millennium brought a change in direction to Richter’s painting: from the abstract to the human form. In his latest works, the German artist exquisitely refines the interaction between expressive mechanisms from both abstract and figurative styles.

Daniel Richter (Eutin, Germany, 1962) studied at the Fine Arts School in Hamburg (Germany) between 1992 and 1996. He began his career as a graphic designer and illustrator for punk rock magazines, and his first pieces combined picturesque styles and traditions. His paintings also incorporate decorative elements and abstract figures from popular culture. In addition to the numerous individual and collective exhibitions he has held, in 1999 this prolific artist also did the stage design for Arthur Schnitzler’s play The Green Cockatoo, shown at the Institute for Theatre, Music and Cinema in Hamburg. One year earlier, in 1998, he won the Otto-Dix-Preisträger in Gera, and he won another prize in 2001, the Förderpreis für Junge Kunst in Holstein. Richter has combined his artistic side with academia; in 2000 he gave a lecture at the Hamburg Theatre and in 2003, 2005 and 2006 he was a guest professor at the Superior School of Fine Arts in Hamburg and a professor at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, respectively.

His work has achieved such recognition that it already forms part of the most prestigious public collections, such as the Saatchi Gallery in London, the Deutsche Bank Collection in Frankfurt and the Federal Republic of Germany Collection. Richter has also exhibited his work in the most important international museums and art centres. The most notable of his individual exhibitions have been held at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Basel) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). Since 1995 he has participated in many collective exhibitions, such as the ones organised at the Helms-Museum in Hamburg, the Neues Museum Weserburg in Bremen, the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Nimes, Helsinki City Art Museum and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.

Currently he lives and works between Berlin and Hamburg.

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