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DECODING RICHTER

18.08. 2023 - 23.08. 2023


Participating artists:

Arbi Jaballah, Bernhard Buff, Ines Kaufmann, Maximiliano León, Daniel Richter, Marlene Zehder


The upcoming exhibition focuses on Daniel Richter and his (former) students. Richter heads the class for Extended Painterly Space at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and is known for giving his students free rein. This leads to very different working methods and thematic confrontations, which at first glance have little to do with Richter . However, if you take a closer look at the students' works, you can also find partial aspects of their professor's work in them. The exhibition invites you to pursue these and at the same time provides an insight into the developments in contemporary painting.



Exhibition text Decoding Richter


Looking at the works of the students of Daniel Richter 's class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, it is initially difficult to find a consistent line. Both in terms of content and style, the works differ to such an extent that the question arises as to the criteria under which Richter selects and subsequently "trains" the students. While other professors, such as Neo Rauch in Leipzig, often almost impose their own style of painting on the students and a kind of genius cult arises around the teacher, it is different with him. Daniel Richter compensates for the criticized infrequent attendance with an incomparable ability to analyze works. As students report, he grasps the intention and at the same time still existing problems of a picture within a few moments without explanation of the artist. His comments are not concrete suggestions for solutions, but guide the students to reflect on the picture and find their own solution. He neither suggests technical or formal changes to them, nor does he intervene in the subject matter. Rather, he trains the students' vision, a skill that some describe as the greatest learning during their studies. 


So as great as the students' freedom is, there must be reasons why Daniel Richter included them in his class. A class to which a disproportionate number apply at the academy and accordingly many have to be rejected. If we look at the development of Richter itself, we can see a change in his formal working method from abstract to figurative painting. In terms of content, however, it behaves more constant. In his works, Richter deals with the political themes of the present as well as those of the past. He does not want to illustrate these concretely, but leaves the viewer a great freedom of interpretation. As he says himself, his works therefore do not necessarily lead to a truth or insight about society, but rather to an insight into the depictability of certain phenomena. Personal inner conflicts also find their way into the images of Richter, both thematically and formally, for example in his choice of color palette. 


These problems, which may be of a private nature but may also have been triggered by society, not only feature prominently in the work of Richter , but are also of particular interest to him in the selection of his students. Richter chooses artists who either carry a personal conflict with them or make one from society recognizable. As the exhibition shows, these can find their expression sometimes more concrete, sometimes more subtle. Just like Richter , the artists shown choose different means. While some works are mythical and symbolic, others work with a narrative, with colors alone, with expressive language, or with a minimalism that leaves any room for interpretation open. 


Visitors are therefore invited to approach the various forms of expression of the artists. In all works there is also something from the work of Richter . However, these are not a copy or an imitation of their professor, but rather the characteristic of the artist that led Richter to include him or her in the class. 




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