Born 1950 in Eindhoven, where he still lives, Daniëls is an important figure in the history of Dutch art and his unique style continues to influence a younger generation of painters including Peter Doig, Chris Ofili and Marlene Dumas. The idea for the exhibition arose from interest shown in his work by so many other painters following the inclusion of three of his works in Archipeinture: Painters Build Architecture, a group exhibition at Camden Arts Centre in 2006.
Daniëls has described his paintings as ‘a combination of visual poetry on one hand and painting on the other’ (René Daniëls, 1983). They make reference to art, music, literature, performance and architecture as well as forming a critique of the art establishment and Daniëls’ position within it. Defying simple interpretation or definition, Daniëls’ paintings are sketchy and open, expressive and fluid. Looking at the relationship between language and image, visual puns and word play, the paintings and their titles invite a dialogue with the viewer.
In many of the paintings Daniëls uses basic everyday motifs such as hats, chimneys and skateboards. One such shape, which resembles a bow tie, occurs frequently; as a simple interior space, hung with paintings or punctuated with windows. Using this simple symbol, through scale or painted surface, he encourages the opening-up of imagined spaces and places within the work.
René Daniëls: Painting on Unknown Languages was organised by Camden Arts Centre with curatorial advice from Paul Andriesse.