Daniel Knorr

Daniel Knorr, Nationalgalerie, project for BB5 and A Prior #17, 2008

Daniel Knorr’s work deals with the realationships between performance art, everyday life, public versus private space and the artist and the audience. Pursuing the principle of Conceptual Art, the artist explores the aspect of materialisation in art, calling it into question on various levels. Thoughts, ideas and feelings, but also identity, language and text all contribute to the realisation of his art.

Daniel Knorr
* 1968 in Bucharest (ro), lives and works in Berlin (de)

2008, 58 flags, fabric, metal, each 360 x 280 cm

Daniel Knorr’s work is a clandestine assault on the founding myths of our society. His strategy combines the conceptual practice of appropriating existing cultural material with a situationist irony of détournement. Conspicuous at first, often rejected once recognized, his works emerge in the process of perception, discussion, and mediatization by the viewers. As his contribution to the Romanian Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005), entitled European Influenza, Knorr left the room completely empty so that the artwork materialized only in the reactions of visitors and critics in magazines, blogs, and forums. The comprehensive publication that Knorr produced to close the project elaborated the discrepancy between the empty space and its concretized discourse. The catalyst left to spawn reactions were the words “European” and “Influenza” that made up the title of the artwork.
For the 5th berlin biennial Knorr conceived an artwork that explores the concept of the national—its origins, codifications, and continued influence in contemporary society. By hanging the colored flags of Berlin’s fifty-nine resident student fraternities as color barcode from the roof cornice of the Neue Nationalgalerie, he adds a new lining to an architecture that, from its origins, pretended to avoid any ideological engagement. In the process, Knorr quietly points to the potential political resonance of even the most seemingly abstract of forms (color blocks, minimalist squares, etc.). Of inspiration to the project were several historical works in the museum’s collection—from the overtly political, such as George Grosz’s Pillars of Society (1926), to the apparently neutral, such as Barnett Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? (1969/70). Museums and their collections are built to last. But, as their familiar syntax is subjected to fragmentation, new meanings emerge. “Who is afraid of red?” can also be a political question, after all. (Berlin Biennial 5)


Daniel Knorr, Nationalgalerie, project for BB5 and A Prior #17, 2008
Daniel Knorr, Nationalgalerie, project for BB5 and A Prior #17, 2008
Daniel Knorr, Nationalgalerie, project for BB5 and A Prior #17, 2008


David Maljkovic, Scene (for new heritage) 2006, in A Prior #17

A Gathering, twice over

Call the roller of big cigars,

Themuscular one, and bid himwhip

In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.

Read the article
William Hogarth, c. 1730-5

Whereof One Can Speak

Editorial to A Prior #18, produced after The New York Conversations, e-flux store front, New York City in the summer of 2008 and two additional conversation sessions in the autumn of 2008 at the Beursschouwburg in Brussels.

Read the article