At the Crossroads of Painting
Caught between life and death, painting, like Schrödinger’s cat, can never be simultaneously measured by its ‘momentum’ and ‘place’. Such a predicament is ever more present in the case of René Daniëls, a living artist whose artistic production concluded over a decade ago (Daniëls suffered a debilitating stroke in 1987), leaving us wondering about the momentum of his art, not knowing what his ultimate ‘place’ in art history could have been had his work continued to develop over the past and present decades. Although it is tempting to locate this ?eetingly short yet combustive career in the ‘momentum’ of the 1980s, to do so would be to miss many of the possible directions and inner probings his work could have taken in the decades following. His paintings seem to project an atemporal sensibility that is nonetheless locatable in our vacillating present. ?e transience of their painted forms and the ephemeral association of images, such as, say, a skateboard or a microphone stand, disclose a world in which our experience of memory and language is eroded, creating the illusion of immediacy.