Daniel Richter: Squeezing Reality Out of His Sponge

Daniel Richter, Taunus, 2000, Oil on canvas

“The studio is the sponge and the outside world is the water … The sponge is dipped into reality and then squeezed out.” Daniel Richter

If creating a Daniel Richter painting was really so simple, we’d all be doing it. Rather, squeezing the life juice of reality and spreading it on a canvas, is a skill that Richter has been practising and developing for the past 40 years.

Daniel Richter, Phoenix, 2000, Oil on canvas.

Showing all over the world from MoMA New York to the Centre Pompidou Paris, Richter’s strangely psychodelic, electric visions have got us transfixed. The German born artist creates stylistically complex works by layering the different techniques which he has perfected over many different periods during his career. Constantly, he is searching in the to do more than he knows how to, and his large diversity of styles demonstrate it. Richter explains that like this you enter a ‘long process of not really being aware of yourself’. Eventually your painting shows you how you view the world.

Daniel Richter, Tarifa, 2001, Oil on canvas

From his subject matter, we can judge that what Richter sees in the world is a haze of politics, sex, and contemporary culture. Whilst stating that political art is for the most part ‘boring’, it is clear that Richter’s work reflects on the issues of modern society and those that live on its edge.

Richter doesn’t shy away from anything. In interviews he shares his opionions openly – swearing and cussing as and when he likes. It follows suit that much of his work is explicit, like his recent series  I Should Have Known Better featuring body-like shapes in seemingly pornographic poses. Despite the multi-coloured paterned humans with the heat-map style contours, there is a sense of ‘realness’ that transcends from Richter’s work due to the truthful and self-challenging way that he approaches it.

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