Daniel Knorr

Canvas Sculptures, Happy-Go-Lucky, 2020
pigmented polyurethane, UV resistant
180 x 88 x 20 cm (71 x 34 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Canvas Sculptures, Red Lumberjack, 2020
pigmented polyurethane, UV resistant
185 x 135 x 20 cm (72 7/8 x 53 1/8 x 7 7/8 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Canvas Sculptures (Blue Chateau), 2020
pigmented polyurethane, UV resistant
150 x 96 x 20 cm (59 x 37 3/4 x 7 7/8 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Canvas Sculptures, Klee Swirl, 2020
pigmented polyurethane, UV resistant
153 x 115 x 15 cm (60 1/4 x 45 1/4 x 6 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Canvas Sculptures, Maple Leaf, 2020
pigmented polyurethane, UV resistant
124 x 132 x 23 cm (48 3/4 x 52 x 9 in.)

Daniel Knorr’s abstract, conceptual works are grounded in appropriating reality and reformulating it in a variety of artistic processes, molding it to fit each new situation. While Knorr’s conceptual approach may take a critical stance toward society, it never leads to dry, preachy discourses, leaving the materialization of an idea to generate alluring, aesthetic results instead.



Canvas Sculptures

Derived from the Depression Elevations series, the Canvas Sculptures add a new dimension to the work of the artist and the painting practice. Paint is the ephemera of a work of art on canvas. It is the layer that incorporates the genius of the artist, the part that needs the canvas as support to fascinate and take over our minds and souls. The development in the work of Daniel Knorr is the physical and intellectual liberation of paint from the canvas, from its classical source as a painting.


The work of the artist starts in the studio by molding the surface of the canvas texture. Like that, Knorr gets the canvas structure on silicone and starts painting on it. After the painting is done, the artist pours clear and colored resin over the silicone canvas. After the resin cures, it gets pulled off, pushed together and crunched by the artist, creating a three-dimensional structure of the painting.


Inspired by modernist paintings, the artist combines different art-historical moments and genres. Minimalism represented the serial division and industrialization of natural resources in the 60s and in Europe the Nouveau Réalisme introduced a new perception of the reality, of the environment in general. We live in a time of materialization and serial reproduction, where classic art is massively industrialized, taking shapes of computer paintings, wallpapers, tablecloths, shower curtains, etc. just to name a few. The canvas sculptures of Daniel Knorr are a reaction to an industrial moment of materialization of culture, creating a new layer and dimension for the artistic practice of painting.

Daniel Knorr

Calligraphic Wig, 2019
Materialization, recycled plastics, paint, pvc mirror foil
size variable

Calligraphic Wig

The concept of the work is the discovery of a new “language” that is set in one of the most commonly used materials of our time, plastics. Language is in this case a metaphor for the form that the material gets during the circumstances of production discontinuation in the recycling process.


Daniel Knorr visited several local companies in the periphery of Hong Kong that recycle material collected from the streets and factories. Usually plastics get shredded and melted into strings, cut down to granulate, in order to be melted again for new production. During this process, the recycling machine has moments of interruption, when different parts of the machine are changed, allowing the flowing plastic material to take its own forms. These forms are usually shredded and cut to be recycled again. The artist spent time in the recycling factory and collected leftovers of the recycling process. The pieces have the form of letters of unknown languages or undiscovered underwater animals, or yet unseen parts of an alien body, like a language created by the material itself.


Daniel Knorr opened his first studio in Hong Kong last year in a store space located in the Chung King Mansions. Here people from about 90 nations live and work together. After discovering the recycled plastic forms, he decided to connect these forms with the communities in Chung King Mansions, presenting a new “language”.


Like any artistic production, the uncanny plastic forms, need to be prepared for display. As the pieces are shown in a shop, the artist decided to connect the forms to the location situation by giving them a commercial surface, using color. The colors of the objects are the colors of various car brands, treating the objects like vehicles, but in this case as vehicles of communication. Some of the objects are left in their original shape and color, showing the “real face” of the material. The piece looks like a store decoration of a shop in a mall but without products, creating a space to be discovered.

Chung King Mansions Hong Kong, 2019, Photo: Sheung Chi Kwan

Depression Elevations

For a series of works called Depression Elevations, Knorr appropriated street surface deformations and irregularities using casts made in a complex process to effect an artistic representation. As documents of specific times and practices, the brightly colored wall reliefs are completely abstract objects referring to actual places (named in the titles) where surfaces are worn down through their long-time use in civic infrastructure.


Knorr’s extractions from depressions in the earth’s surface take the shape of “inverted” reliefs. Looking through the smooth surface of the transparent mold, beholders can make out the irregularities in its depths that lend its unique visual structure. For his molds, Knorr used plastics containing crystal-clear polyurethanes, which were designed in the US exclusively for the creative industries. The colors correspond to today’s industrial design code for public space and are inspired by colors used for printed packaging, various consumer goods, and company names. This “inversion” also takes place on the aesthetic level, transforming the rough, gray potholes into “eye candy.” The wall objects’ artificial colors and polished, even surfaces remind us of Skittles or Jell-O, with their chemical, artificial taste. The flat surfaces may also trigger associations with works by John McCracken and other American West Coast artists influenced by car culture. In this way, Daniel Knorr’s objects maintain a balance between the well-worn ground and the perfect surface.

Daniel Knorr

Depression Elevations (Berlin Brunnenstrasse Tripping), 2015
pigmented polyurethane casting, UV resistant
190 x 125 x 5 cm (75 x 49 1/4 x 2 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Depression Elevations, Berlin Hong Kong Brücke, 2018
pigmented polyurethane casting, UV resistant
145 x 110 x 12 cm (57 x 43 1/4 x 4 3/4 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Depression Elevations (Orange and Pink Waves), 2019
pigmented polyurethane casting, UV resistant
125 x 85 x 4 cm (49 1/5 x 33 1/2 x 1 5/8 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Depression Elevations (Night Pulsar), 2019
pigmented polyurethane casting, UV resistant
127 x 63 x 4 cm (50 x 24 3/4 x 1 5/8 in.)

Daniel Knorr

Depression Elevations, Mars Victoria Crater 1:100000, 2018
pigmented polyurethane casting, UV resistant
90 x 90 x 8 cm (35 7/16 x 35 7/16 x 3 3/16 in.)

Daniel Knorr about the Canvas Sculpture Series

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