1989-2009: Paintings of the Berlin Airports 20 Years after the Fall of the Wall
October 31 – December 5, 2009
Gallery Two

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce 1989-2009: Paintings of the Berlin Airports 20 Years after the Fall of the Wall, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Daniel Rich.

Chicago, IL, October 31, 2009 – Andrew Rafacz continues the fall season with new paintings by Daniel Rich in Gallery Two. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery and continues through Saturday, December 5, 2009.

Daniel Rich’s work focuses on the architectural image as a powerful vehicle for the inscription of history. Rich’s interest in the role architecture plays in the expression of power, authority, religion, and nationalism, results in paintings with open political connotations- an allegory of the social environment his subjects are drawn from. Recently, the continued turmoil in the Middle East such as the War in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the unfolding events in Pakistan and Afghanistan have figured predominantly in his work. The artist uses the Internet and newspapers to find the source images for his paintings and searches for this material in response to paying close attention to the news of the day.

With the three paintings exhibited here, Rich has turned his attention towards events that have affected him more directly. Growing up in a divided Germany under military occupation, the artist was acutely aware of the trauma caused by German fascism and militarism and its consequent affects on the country. The resulting, heavily politicized space led to the construction of countless structures strewn across the landscape which have since been destroyed, disassembled and in many cases readapted. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s re-unification. Rich has chosen to focus on the three airports in Berlin, important locations in the city’s central role during the Cold War, and signifiers for Germany’s turbulent history during the last Century.

Berlin Tempelhof was built in 1923. Adolph Hitler wanted it to be the most important airport in Europe, an integral part of his “world-capital” Germania. Hitler’s Architect, Albert Speer greatly expanded the terminal building and it is still known to be one of the largest buildings in the world. It played an important role during the Berlin Airlift and the Cold War while under American Control. Berlin Tegel was built in 1948 by the French occupation forces in order to sustain the Berlin Airlift. It then served as the entryway to West Berlin after the Wall was built around the city by Communist East Germany. Berlin Schoenefeld Airport served as the only airport of the former “German Democratic Republic (DDR)” and is still in use today. By bringing together these three charged locations, Rich has created a different kind of depiction of the important players, and how certain political tools continue to be present, long after those involved have gone.

DANIEL RICH (German, b. 1977) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Rich received an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004); a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (2001); and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2004). His work has been exhibited in New York at Elizabeth Dee Gallery (2005), at Sunday Gallery (2007), at Perry Rubenstein Gallery (2008) and at Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston (2007), among others. Recently, he was part of Transitions.> Painting at the (other) End of Art in Italy at the Maramotti Collection.