Ghent

View of “Raoul De Keyser: oeuvre,” 2018–19, SMAK, Ghent, Belgium. From left: Oefeningen met eerste linnen doos (Exercises with First Linen Box ), 1967; Linnen doos II (Linen Box II), 1966–67; Gampelaere-omgeving (Gampelaere Surroundings), 1967. Photo: Dirk Pauwels.

Raoul de Keyser

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK)

View of “Raoul De Keyser: oeuvre,” 2018–19, SMAK, Ghent, Belgium. From left: Oefeningen met eerste linnen doos (Exercises with First Linen Box ), 1967; Linnen doos II (Linen Box II), 1966–67; Gampelaere-omgeving (Gampelaere Surroundings), 1967. Photo: Dirk Pauwels.


THE PIANIST CRAIG TABORN described how, observing the venerable Art Ensemble of Chicago as a young man, the group’s five members would warm up, practice, and start playing backstage before the show, so that “by the time the concert began the music had already been happening . . . they were simply bringing it out with them.” Likewise, Raoul De Keyser’s art gives the distinct impression of having been carried from somewhere upriver, of having coalesced long before taking form on canvas—and of lingering in the air even after you’ve stopped looking at it. When De Keyser began to gain a reputation as an artist, following his careers as a sports journalist and civil servant, he started keeping a catalogue of his completed work—opening not with opus one but with number four. The beginning is not really the beginning. 

Raoul De Keyser, Untitled (Suggestion), 1995, oil on canvas, 27 1⁄2 × 19 3⁄4".


“Raoul De Keyser: oeuvre” was the first retrospective of

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