Maaigem en Kabinet [Maaigem and Cabinet]

Raoul De Keyser


Painting, 56 x 55 cm.
Materials: oil paint, cardboard, gesso

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK5914).

At the time that Raoul De Keyser made this work, he had already been busy for some years investigating ‘painting’ as such, and the possibilities inherent to different materials. For De Keyser, each work was part of this research into the support, the paint sort and texture. He analyzed colors, materials, forms and brushstrokes – apart or in relation to each other – in terms of spatial potentialities. It was not so much the pure tone that seemed to interest him, but rather the slow process of conceal/reveal whereby bit by bit and step-by-step, he disclosed things. This investigation into painting itself was not limited to relationships within a single painting. De Keyser regularly worked in series, exploring the repetitive correlations between paintings. Oftentimes older works were partially painted-over years later and so acquired new meaning. The title of this work refers to an older series of drawings entitled Maaigem that he made in 1975. Almost twenty years later he again took up the motifs of these drawings, further experimented with them and created a new image. He seldom considered his works as finished. His entire oeuvre may be seen as a work-in-progress, a quest for ‘the’ definitive painting.

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