What is a panel painting and where are its limits? When does a painter become a sculptor? Or vice versa? And does the picture only pretend to be a picture? The works of Daniel Hauptmann (*1980 in Hamburg) raise questions about the perception of authenticity, artificiality and imitations. His works, mostly made of materials such as styrodur and fiberglass, play with our patterns of perception, with everyday objects and materials, but also raise the question of what constitutes a panel painting and painting in general.

Hauptmann’s works are hybrid, material meshes that appear like imprints, fragments, carvings or visual interpretations of natural phenomena such as fossils, plants, woods or sounds. Based on digital cell phone drawings, the images of the new series of works are reduced, both in composition and in the style, which is less expressive but more deliberate and minimalist. The focus is increasingly on the line, which in some pictures stands out from the supposed canvas like a worm or an enlarged microbe, forcing its way into the room in monochrome camouflage. 

Growing up between two cultures – his mother is Korean, his father German – Daniel Hauptmann was surrounded by the Asian way of life and Korean furnishings during his childhood in Hamburg. Not only the contrast between the West European and East Asian concepts of beauty, but also the poles of nature and artificiality within Asian culture had a lasting effect on him. In his work, archaic-looking wood carvings in hearty regulars’ table brown meet with bright orange color field painting with cartographic imprint and caligraphic stroke; yellow YumYum ramen noodles encounter pictures in contemplative white, which drifts into the ultraviolet of a kitschy car undercarriage illumination. Like yin and yang (or “salt and pepper”), they are opposing yet related dual forces or principles that do not fight each other, but complement each other. 

Daniel Hauptmann studied at the Hamburg Art Academy until 2016 and lives and works in Berlin. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.