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.Read More
De Keyser was born in 1930 in Deinze, Belgium. Since 1999, his work has been represented by David Zwirner. Previous solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York include include Drift, 2016, which was first on view at David Zwirner, London, Freedom, 2011, Terminus: Drawings, 1979-1982, and Recent Paintings, 2009, Recent Work, 2006, Remnants, 2003, and Come on, play it again, 2001. In 2018, a major retrospective of the artist's work will be presented by the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent.
Since the mid-1960s, the artist's work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions at prominent institutions. In 2000, a large-scale retrospective was presented at The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, which traveled to the Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia and The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. A major survey of the artist’s paintings traveled extensively from 2004 and 2005 to the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Musée de Rochechouart, France; De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; and the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland.
In 2009, his paintings were exhibited in a retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany and his watercolors were presented jointly at the Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. Other venues that have hosted important solo exhibitions over the past decade include the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent, 2001; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium, 2002; Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek, Deinze, Belgium, 2007; Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 2008; De Loketten, Flemish Parliament, Brussels, 2011; Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek, Deinze, Belgium, 2013; and the Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2015.
Work by the artist is held in permanent collections worldwide, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent; among numerous others.
Text courtesy David Zwirner.
They are small things, clustered in an order that is like an interrupted thought. Hung just as they were in his studio, Raoul De Keyser’s last paintings now occupy a wall at David Zwirner gallery in London. De Keyser died in 2012 at the age of 82. A few marks, some strange bent shapes; some are barely paintings at all. One has a small...
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