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Daniel Karrer

Daniel Karrer is a Swiss artist who lives in Basel and is known for his reverse oil-on-glass paintings. I was invited to write about Karrer’s work for Pro Helvetia’s annual Cahier d’Artiste (the Liste imprint produced for the launch), back in 2015. During the process, I became fascinated by his ability to interpret the remote physicality of digital life and the scrolling image culture that feeds its content. I had been looking for an opportunity to exhibit Karrer’s work ever since and this project (originally slated for last year, but cancelled due to Covid) felt like the right fit.Much of the artist’s recent output has involved the direct application of paint onto glass, which further amplifies a sense of the screen in play. It also encompasses analogue allusions to the printed image and the physical squeegee process of screen printing.


There is a clear sense of strategic design and placement with his compositions, if one open to the influence of chance, as exactitude is not an always option given the nature of the production. It does, however, allow for a cut-and-paste aesthetic that speaks of the Dadaists’ treatment of space and its staging: the curtain, the theatrical backdrop, and nowadays, the screensaver.The imagery he chooses appears all about obfuscation, an interruption to the view – clouds, mountains, shadowy architectural recesses – the slippery weft of marks and strokes creating a panel of molten possibilities that connect the materiality of paint with that of liquid crystal display. Karrer is represented by Tony Wuethrich Gallerie, Basel.

"Since 2016, I paint pretty much solely, using the technique of reverse painting on glass. Mostly in oil, sometimes also using acrylic behind glass. From the beginning, this technique has been an inspiration for many of my painterly inventions. The range of marks that can be made and traces left on the glass is very wide. I can paint the surface almost industrially perfect, or I can also let the ductus of the brush become visible – depending on the consistency of the paint or the pressure of the brush."

Daniel Karrer


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