Richter turns a critical eye on contemporary culture in 'My Lunatic Neighbar'
Space K Seoul, an art space set up by the Kolon Group in Magok, western Seoul, has shown consistent preferences in its exhibitions since its opening in 2020, which seems to have helped it become a hot place for young art lovers. The art space prefers painters of representational imagery inspired by media and contemporary culture in strong and vivid colors, as seen in the ongoing solo show of German artist Daniel Richter, titled “My Lunatic Neighbar.”
As Richter’s first solo show in Asia, the exhibition features 25 works by the artist, most of which are large-scale paintings. Showing his continued exploration of new styles and themes, the exhibits range from representational paintings from the early 2000s inspired by the news images of sociopolitical scenes, which brought fame to the artist, to his latest paintings that stand in between figuration and abstraction with rhythmic lines drawn in bold strokes and strong colors.
Pointing to “Phienox”(2000), a painting that depicts a chaotic scene of a crowd clambering a wall in psychedelic colors like those of infrared camera images, Lee Jang-uk, senior curator of Space K said, “When the painting was premiered, many viewers associated it with the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, it is based on a news photo of the then-recent bombing of the U.S. embassy in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The diverse interpretations of the painting are what the artist intends. His paintings in the 2000s are a kind of modern historical painting, but he avoids direct mention of the incidents that inspired the paintings to leave them open to interpretation.”
According to Space K, Richter spent his 20s with a vast interest in social movements and music and, after experiencing the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, studied fine art at the HFBK Hamburg (University of Fine Arts Hamburg) in his late 20s and early 30s.
When asked “What is the social role of art?” by Space K, Richter, who draws so much inspiration from socio-political issues, said, “The social role of art is, it sounds super boring and kind of redundant. The main role of art is to be art. And the social role of art or its political content is defined by its surrounding... It may also be something that upsets you or brings you toward the process of thinking about things you have never thought about before. For me, the main role of art is, is to surprise me. To think the unthinkable.”
The exhibition runs through Sept. 28.
BY MOON SO-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]