press release

Supported by the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation The Whitechapel holds the first major UK survey of Belgian painter Raoul De Keyser. Since 1963 Raoul De Keyser (born 1930) has been building a highly personal body of work poised between abstraction and figuration. Through paintings which are both suggestive and emotional he attempts to reconcile the contradictions inherent in painting. His subtle canvases combine the physicality of paint with ephemeral images, and the principles of painting with abstract references to his own life and surroundings. Working in parallel with a generation of acclaimed post-war artists - including Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Frank Stella - Raoul De Keyser has only been brought to international attention in recent years. His intimate works on a domestic scale are layered or washed with a muted palette of organic, primal shapes in his personal interpretation of American Modernism. With 70 key works from 1963 to the present day, the Whitechapel’s major retrospective charts Raoul De Keyser’s development. Including new paintings from his Remnants series, derived from fragments of a lino cut print made 10 years ago he rediscovered in his studio, his motifs are always close to home. Architectural spaces, the monkey puzzle tree next to his house, an old paddling canoe, and the stairway between his living area and studio all reveal the flux and anxiety of everyday life. His poetic works often conceal the rigour and restlessness with which he has re-worked his canvases. ‘I have letters from people who wonder what it is that they find so beautiful about my work. That is pleasant, but it is also dangerous. I don’t want to become the ‘pretty’ painter…Ultimately I want to paint ruthlessly’ (Raoul De Keyser, 2002) Inspired by everything from the architecture of his house near Ghent to the markings on football pitches, it is both his stylistic fluidity and the trademark surface quality of his paintings which has influenced many of his younger contemporaries. Raoul De Keyser’s work will be shown alongside contemporary British painters with a shared sensitivity and interest in developing the potential of abstract painting. Pressetext

only in german

Raoul de Keyser
koorganisiert von: Whitechapel Gallery; Musée de Rochechouart, Frankreich; De Pont Foundation, Tilburg; Fundação Serralves, Porto; Kunstmuseum St.Gallen