DANIEL RICHTER, LIMBO
dates 21.04.2022 – 25.09.2022
Coinciding with the 59th Biennale di Venezia, the Ateneo Veneto presents new paintings by Daniel Richter in the rooms of the Scuola Grande di San Fantin. The works are shown in the palazzo’s historical setting amidst its remarkable decorative programme and alongside 17th-century works from the museum’s collection. Large-scale oil paintings by Richter are exhibited in the Aula Magna on the ground floor, while the Sala Tommaseo on the upper floor offers insights into the artist’s archive through a selection of books, ephemera and paraphernalia, alongside new ink drawings and collages.
Treading the path between abstraction and figuration, Richter has formulated a pictorial language of his own.
His figures are linked together in violently distorted poses, seeming to float in an indefinable cosmos. The exhibition’s title, Limbo, can refer both to the spiritual space inhabited by souls waiting to ascend to heaven and to the acrobatic game of backbending that Richter’s figures seem to perform.
Built as a caritative institution which offered spiritual guidance for those sentenced to death, the building was converted into an educational institution when the fraternity was dissolved during the course of secularisation in the 19th century. Today, the Ateneo Veneto accommodates a museum and a major cultural institution. This context opens up a lively visual dialogue between the Scuola’s religious programme and Richter’s aspiration to question art in terms of social and political responsibility.
The early modern painting cycles that decorate the palazzo’s walls and ceilings have an inherent immediacy that arises from the contrast between the dark background and the bright biblical scenes in the foreground. Richter also uses the stylistic feature of chiaroscuro, which is characteristic of the late Renaissance and Baroque, as a central creative device in his works. The curator Eva Meyer-Hermann further points out that the epithet of the Scuola, which was known as the institution of the ‘good death’ (Scuola della Buona Morte) resonates with Richter’s own artistic endeavour to ‘paint beautifying ugliness’.
Richter’s works can sometimes be read in political terms but mostly they evade any single interpretation. By stripping the works of any historical context and explicit symbolic meaning, they become almost allegorical, thereby bringing them closer to the decorative programme in the Ateneo Veneto. This raises questions about the tradition of painting and the formation of historical consciousness, as well as its sociological and psychological implications.
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Ateneo Veneto, Venice, with the support of Zuecca Projects and
curated by Eva Meyer-Hermann. The exhibition architecture is designed by Viola Eickmeier and executed by Giacomo Andrea Doria (Ott Art). An artist’s book designed by Yvonne Quirmbach has been published on the occasion of the exhibition.
The Ateneo Veneto is thankful for the kind support provided by GRIMM gallery, Regen Projects and Thaddaeus Ropac gallery.
Press folder: drive.google.com
DANIEL RICHTER, LIMBO
22 April—25 September 2022
VIP Preview: April 21, 2022
Press preview on request: Tuesday 19 April
Tour with the curator and artist on request: Wednesday 20 April & Thursday 21 April
Visiting hours: Wednesday—Sunday, 10am—6pm
Ateneo Veneto, San Marco, 1897 Campo San Fantin, 30124 Venice