“…and what teases me is that I always miss something” was the title of an exhibition of the artist in 2010 in Cologne. This phrase can be seen as the motto of his practice and his personal justification for artistic creation. Whereas he previously sought to hide any failure or correction to expose only the finished image, he today accepts this lines as signs of maturation. The colour is applied in so thin layer that the interruptions in the work process come through. Drawing is very present in Grüttner’s paintings and often shows morphological details, as a legacy of his interrupted medical studies. The artist first draws to create and organize his pictorial space, which he later will fill with colour. In addition to this, unpredictable and uncalculated free gestures open other possibilities. Grüttner speaks of “assertion and settlement” of his painting, an art without instructions, where artist and viewer can both reinvent their way of looking.
The colours seem ostentatious, the shapes rush into the picture, and yet the variety of shapes and colours also appears to restrict each other and bring a bit of balance. On the other hand, the slight doubts are blotted out by the luxuriant organic associations, which make the forms vibrate. Suddenly a small area of bright blue, yellow or pink peeps out behind a moving pattern and it provides the composition with a surprising accent.
While his art historical memory recognizes details from paintings by Ernst Wilhelm Nay and Willem de Kooning, the viewer also immediately perceives their distortion and how other parts of the compositions recall stylistic devices of Cubism. But Daniel Grüttner has clearly translated these artistic influences into a contemporary expression. His grids, gates, fading outs, his forced and excessive colour mix are absolutely contemporary. But he doesn’t choose an accessible way and avoids the content to reflect the abstract force of colours and forms and penetrate the intellectual possibilities of painting.
I am only interested to paint pictures that I so can not think up. (Daniel Grüttner)