Raoul De Keyser in De Loketten
Raoul De Keyser has been exhibiting his paintings both inside and outside the country since before I was born. Without going into too much detail on that point, his first solo show was in 1965 in a gallery in Wetteren, East Flanders. The same year, a Ghent gallery hosted his work as part of a group show.
A year has not gone by since that didn’t find De Keyser’s eclectic paintings travelling around the world, from France to Portugal to the UK and US. He’s was part of both Documenta and the Venice Biennal in 2007, the same year a major retrospective of his work was shown in Bonn. One of the most prolific Flemish artists alive today, he’s the perfect choice for the annual show in the gallery of the Flemish Parliament in Brussels.
De Keyser is not the sort of painter you instantly recognise, as in: “That’s a De Keyser”. He’s more restless than that, going from a distinct influence of the American modernists’ abstraction to figuration, and combining them in an infinite number of ways. Curator Robert Hoozee of Ghent’s Fine Arts Museum has wisely broken up the show, called De dingen die ik zie (The Things I See), into five parts, which highlight specific phases in De Keyser’s career (which is still ongoing; the painter lives and works in Deinze.).
Ghent architect Robberecht and Daem, meanwhile, have transformed the gallery into a sort of mini-museum for the show, which runs through 11 July.
Pictured: Raoul De Keyser’s “Homage to Brusselmans”, 1970