the 1960s, the paintings of Raoul De Keyser have uniquely defined
a place for themselves within the scope of contemporary art.
Keyser was born in 1930 and in the mid -1960s he joined,
with Roger Raveel and Lucassen,
New Vision, a group of painters interested in revitalizing earlier
strains of European formalism. During the nenetie, he has become
an increasingly important figure in contemporary painting, having
exhibited widely in Europe including Documenta IX in 1992 and Documenta XII in 2007. Influenced
by the postwar American Modernist movement, De Keyser's canvases
reference color-field painting and minimalism.
His work received wider recognition
since its inclusion in Documenta IX in 1992. A catalogue raisonné of the artist’s paintings made between 1980
and 1999 was published last year as an accompaniment to a traveling retrospective, currently on view at the
Renaissance Society in Chicago. Over the last decade, De Keyser’s paintings were included in international group
exhibitions such as Trouble Spot. Painting (MuKHA, Antwerp, 1999), Unbound; Possibilities in Painting
(Hayward Gallery, London, 1994) and Der zerbrochene Spiegel. Positionen zur Malerei (Kunsthalle, Vienna and
Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, 1993).
work celebrates the fundamental possibilities of painting and its autonomy.
Particular to the illusionistic space that painting offers is the tension between figure and ground. De Keyser’s work
examines this tension by giving these two elements an equal status. The ground is applied deliberately and has a
peculiar depth, reminiscent of human skin. The overlaying figure, circles, lines, spots or blurs, certainly qualify as
abstraction, yet still within the logic of the composition, they teeter on the verge of figuration. The paintings
themselves are light and they retain an air of spontaneity. Every work is a singular event and it is obvious that
their compositional balance is fragile; one wrong stroke of the brush and the work can fail.
De Keyser claims for himself a particularly privileged space within painting. His work is like a fountain,
constantly creating new possibilities for itself and for the artist. Since it occupies the realm of esthetics, it is itself
completely autonomous and not a messenger for any specific cause.
De Keyser made a small drawing for Hok,
an edition with poems by Roland
Limited edition of 36 copies printed on Velke Losiny 240
by both artists.
Ergo Pers is primarily a publisher of artists books, first editions
of Dutch poetry and editions of French or English poetry in translation.
Since its founding in 1995 Ergo Pers has brought together writers
and artists to explore verbal and visual relations, such as Jürgen
Partenheimer, Jan Voss, Jacques Dupin, Lucassen, Dan Van Severen,
André du Bouchet, Yves Bonnefoy, Pierre Alechinsky, Pierre
Reverdy and Jerome Rothenberg.