The paintings of Daniel Gantner are most certainly studies. All his paintings are unique experiments – he is not monomaniac with a mantra-like, ever-repeating working method. The works relate to each other, there is a certain genealogy, they from a cluster, however they are definitely not variations on a theme. If he would ever try to be a writer, I am sure he would write essays or novellas. He would create – in the manner of Borges – unique and closed cosmoi where is impossible to tell the difference between fiction and quotation.
If I must link his practice to someone, to name a famous predecessor, then the name of Paul Klee come to mind. Obviously, he does not reject the last hundred years of the art history, nor our global pictoriality. One may find traces of pop art in his artistic practice; others would be able can relate his works two different understandings of postmodernism and some may simply add it to the still expanding pool of post-internet art. Laissez faire. But one thing for sure, his works resemble the quality and dedication of Klee’s.
Which could separate him from the other painting-oriented artists of this generation is the act of separation, the usage of frames, the framing. The frame seems to be outdated. We barely see any framed paintings – we even barely see framed photographs. His reason is the separation and the frame is the traditional tool of this act. He does not create strongly tactile surfaces to differentiate the plane of the picture from the plane of the wall, or follow other strategies like to escape the plane and create object-like works. His method is to install a frame between the artwork and the wall. He establishes a demilitarized zone which is nor picture nor wall, and which underlines the pictoriality of the painting.
His paintings are enigmatic, but not for their own sake. They are not made of cheap puns or riddles, none of them is a picture-puzzle at a quiz night to amuse members of a subculture. (Some very successful contemporary artists tend to do this.)
the is no evident decode, because there neither an omnipresent and structure-giving code – we have no universal equation, nor secret, it is just a grand experiment.
Ferenc Margl, curator