A survey exhibition of the Dutch artist René Daniëls' influential paintings and drawings will open at Metro Pictures on April 22. The show features works from the late 1970s through the 1980s which are on loan from the René Daniëls Foundation and various European museums. Virtually unknown in the U.S., Daniëls' work has seldom been seen by the American public; this is the impetus for mounting a survey exhibition.
Daniëls began his career in Eindhoven, Holland where he was born in 1950 and still resides. His first exhibitions were in Eindhoven at the Van Abbemuseum, where the museum's then-director Rudi Fuchs established a European bastion of minimal and conceptual art collecting through exhibitions of works by Judd, Lewitt, and Flavin. By the early eighties Daniëls' work was shown in galleries throughout Europe and was included in the seminal international exhibitions of the decade: Documenta IV, Westkunst, and Zeitgeist. In the mid-eighties Daniëls had two painting shows in New York at Metro Pictures.
Daniëls produced a remarkable body of work amidst the hyped art climate of the eighties and Eindhoven's backdrop of Minimalism until 1987, when he stopped working after suffering a devastating illness. Since that time it has come to be understood that Daniëls' work is a singular contribution of astute intelligence, unpretentious humor, modest execution and wry critique. Daniëls has described his working method as "making poems visually." The results are an original and sensitive reassessment of the premises of painting.
His early works were representational paintings, spontaneously executed and almost daring in their simplicity. Akin to drawings, and using thin washes of paint, the paintings employed signature motifs and simple shapes such as skateboards, records, swans, fish, archetypal artists, and gallery rooms. A clear example of Daniëls' use of motifs is exemplified in the "room paintings": the image shifts cryptically between a room with windows, a gallery with pictures, a room in perspective, or a bow-tie with rectangular pattern.
A major survey exhibition, "René Daniëls - The Most Contemporary Picture Show" was organized in 1998 by Jan Debbaut, current director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. The Eindhoven show was exhibited at the Wolfsburg (Germany), the Kunsthalle Basel (Switzerland), the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and the Fundacao de Serralves Porto (Portugal). The exhibition at Metro Pictures has been organized in cooperation with the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, and with the support of the Mondriaan Foundation Amsterdam, for the advancement of the visual arts, design and museums.
For more information please contact Todd Hutcheson or Haan Chau at Metro Pictures (212) 206-7100