After returning from years of war coverage, Peter van Agtmael tries to piece together the memory, identity, race, class, and family, in a landscape which has become as surreal as the war he left behind.
For nearly fifty years, Raoul De Keyser (1930-2012) created subtly evocative paintings and works on paper which appear at once straightforward and cryptic, abstract and figurative. Composed of basic but indefinable shapes and marks, his works often invoke spatial and figural illusions, though they remain elusive of any descriptive narrative. Despite – or precisely because of – their sparse gesturing, De Keyser’s works convey a grandeur that inspires prolonged contemplation. Individually as well as collectively, his works revolve around the activity of painting, but also move beyond its physical means to become more than the sum of their parts. Their apparent simplicity belies a lengthy gestation period, which is guided largely by intuition, rather than by following a pre-existing plan.
Major surveys of the artist’s paintings and retrospectives have been presented at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Musée de Rochechouart, France; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany. Other venues that have hosted important solo exhibitions over the past decade include the S.M.A.K. / Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2001).
Work by the artist is held in permanent collections worldwide, including Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.