David Schutter makes paintings from earlier paintings. He chooses an existing work, often obscure, with painterly techniques that interest him—for instance, a strange nocturnal still life by nineteenth-century painter Adolph Menzel, or a corporate portrait commissioned by the Dutch East India Company from the seventeenth-century artist Frans Hals. For months he sits in front of the work at a museum, making sketches and notes, then enters his studio and re-creates it entirely from memory. On its surface the resulting work looks nothing like the original: it’s usually a luminous, chromatic gray, sized to the scale of the source work. The paintings feel like apertures into alien yet somehow familiar terrain. His paintings’ motion, light, coloration, and myriad painterly effects uncannily all echo those of the originals, but they are extraordinary works in their own right. David and I spoke in his University of Chicago studio the night before he shipped these works—cryptically titled DP P 588 PR and DP P 587 PR—to Documenta 14.