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David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street presents Raoul De Keyser - Drift | Stan Douglas Photographs

Archive | Information & News

18 Mar 2016 to 23 Apr 2016
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM
Monday by appointment
David Zwirner
537 West 20th Street
New York, NY
New York
North America
T: +1 212 517 8677
F: +1 212 517 8959

Raoul De Keyser, Come on, play it again nr. 2, 2001
Oil on canvas
51 1/8 x 74 3/4 inches (129.9 x 189.9 cm)

Artists in this exhibition: Raoul De Keyser, Stan Douglas

Raoul De Keyser Drift

March 18 - April 23, 2016

Opening reception: Friday, March 18, 6 – 8 PM

Press preview with curator Ulrich Loock: 10 AM   David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Raoul De Keyser at our 537 West 20th Street location in New York. The show was on view at our London gallery in the Fall of 2015, and here features additional works by the late Belgian artist.  

Raoul De Keyser: Drift is organized around a group of twenty-two works completed shortly before his death in October 2012, and known as The Last Wall. Together, they revisit some of the major subjects that occupied the artist throughout his nearly fifty-year long career, including the landscape of the Belgian lowlands where he grew up and lived his entire life, the inconspicuous things close at hand, and the partition of the picture plane. These paintings, which were shown together for the first time at David Zwirner in London in 2015, will be accompanied by a careful selection of works from the 1990s onwards that are likewise representative of these subjects and further contextualize the later series.  

De Keyser’s subtly evocative paintings appear at once abstract and figurative. Made up of simple shapes and marks, they invoke spatial and figural illusions, yet remain elusive of any descriptive narrative. Despite—or precisely because of—their sparse gesturing, De Keyser’s works convey a visual intensity that inspires prolonged contemplation. Individually as well as collectively, they 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, yet one that does not adhere to a pre-existing plan.  

Formally and materially restrained, the delicate compositions that make up The Last Wall are sometimes reduced to a line against a white background or two adjoining monochrome areas. While their often singular focus sets them apart from the earlier works on view, parallels emerge both in terms of color schemes and the artist’s unorthodox approach to the pictorial surface, which integrates an unpretentious use of basic materials with a lightness of touch that remains far from the expressive gesture. Among the paintings selected from public and private collections are some of De Keyser’s most significant works, including Front (1992), which was first exhibited at documenta IX in 1992, and Siesta (2000). Both eschew a compositional center in favor of a non-hierarchical arrangement of forms and marks, but a sense of constancy throughout the earlier and later works is found in the relationships between figure and ground, plane and depth, as well as the artist’s alternatingly sparse and dense brushstrokes, through which a broad range of surface textures is achieved.  

Raoul De Keyser: Drift is curated by the art historian Ulrich Loock. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by David Zwirner Books, featuring new scholarship and a biography by Loock, as well as a selection of personal accounts by De Keyser’s close friends and family.    

Raoul De Keyser (1930–2012) was born in 1930 in Deinze, Belgium. His work has been represented by David Zwirner since 1999, and the present exhibition marks the seventh solo show of his work at the gallery. In 2018, a major retrospective of the artist’s work will be presented at 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 through 2005 to the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Musée de Rochechouart, France; De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Museu de 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 de 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 and 2013); Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France (2008); De Loketten, Flemish Parliament, Brussels (2011); 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.  

Ulrich Loock is an independent curator, art critic, and lecturer based in Berlin. He was Director of Kunsthalle Bern (1985–1997), Director of Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (1997–2001), and Deputy Director of Museu de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2003–2010). He has curated numerous exhibitions of artists such as Michael Asher, Matthew Barney, Marlene Dumas, Robert Gober, Katharina Grosse, Eberhard Havekost, Maria Lassnig, Sol LeWitt, Brice Marden, Raymond Pettibon, Gerhard Richter, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Schütte, Thomas Struth, Luc Tuymans, and Christopher Wool. Loock wrote an essay for Al Taylor: Rim Jobs and Sideffects (2011), co-published by David Zwirner and Steidl. He is the curator of the exhibition Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus, opening at Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg in Spring 2016 and traveling to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, and editor of the large-scale exhibition catalogue, co-published by David Zwirner Books and Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg.  

Special Event

Guided tour of the exhibition with Ulrich Loock and Paul Robbrecht
Saturday, March 19, 11 AM  

Curator Ulrich Loock and the Flemish architect Paul Robbrecht will lead a guided tour of the gallery’s exhibition. Co-founding his practice in 1975 with Hilde Daem, Robbrecht has maintained a close relationship between architectural design and the visual arts, and has worked alongside several contemporary artists including Isa Genzken, Juan Muñoz, Gerhard Richter, and Luc Tuymans.  


Stan Douglas Photographs

March 31 - April 23, 2016

Opening reception: Thursday, March 31, 6 – 8 PM
Press preview with the artist: 10:30 AM  

David Zwirner is pleased to present a survey of Stan Douglas’s photographic works spanning his career. Held in conjunction with the United States premiere of the artist’s new film installation The Secret Agent, the exhibition on view at the gallery in New York will show significant series of works from the late 1980s to the present, including Television Spots (1987), Malabar People (2011), among others.  

The exhibition also marks the New York debut of Douglas’s most recent large-scale photographs, which further the artist’s ongoing investigations of photography’s complex and layered relationship to documentation, place, and history. In this series of dark, nearly indiscernible images, Douglas reimagines the postwar urban spaces of his native city of Vancouver, as it existed in 1948, when thousands of people exploited loopholes in British Columbia’s property laws to create provisional forms of accommodation in public spaces. Drawing on archival photographs and film footage, Douglas has digitally rendered several of these temporary urban structures and communities in minute detail. Inspired by film noir, he deploys subtle tonal shifts of black, gray, and white, cloaking the city’s interstitial spaces in shadow, while the eerily quiet scenes and dim pockets of light transform otherwise liminal structures and spaces into sophisticated theatrical mise-en-scènes. This historical reimagining challenges the conventions of the medium of photography itself, as the resulting hyperreal images are impossible photographs of a time and place unobserved by the camera, yet simultaneously fully dependent on the particularities of that time and place. As the artist has observed about these works, “It’s taking a photograph you can’t really take. The places aren’t there anymore and there’s no light.”  

This presentation also celebrates Douglas receiving the 2016 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Opening in October, a solo show of the artist’s work will be hosted by the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. The artist has been the recipient of other notable awards, including the third annual Scotiabank Photography Award (2013) and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York (2012).  

Stan Douglas, quoted in Nick Compton, “Eye spy: Stan Douglas goes undercover at London’s Victoria Miro,” (February 5, 2016).    

Stan Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he continues to live and work. He was one of the first artists to be represented by David Zwirner, where he had his first solo exhibition in the United States in 1993.  

In 2015, The Secret Agent premiered as part of Stan Douglas: Interregnum at Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels and at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon. The film installation will travel to Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, on view May 7 through July 10, 2016.  

In 2013, a major survey of the artist’s recent work, Stan Douglas: Photographs 2008-2013, was presented at Carré d’Art – Musée d’art contemporain in Nîmes, France. It traveled as Stan Douglas: Mise en scène through 2015 to Haus der Kunst, Munich, followed by Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.  

In 2014, Douglas created Helen Lawrence, a multimedia theatre work, which innovatively merges theatre, visual art, live-action filming, and computer-generated imagery. Since the inaugural presentation at the Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver in March 2014, Helen Lawrence has been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and deSingel, Antwerp.  

In 2014, Douglas created Helen Lawrence, a multimedia theatre work, which innovatively merges theatre, visual art, live-action filming, and computer-generated imagery. Since the inaugural presentation at the Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver in March 2014, Helen Lawrence has been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and deSingel, Antwerp.  

For all press inquiries and to RSVP to the March 31 press preview contact
Kim Donica +1 212 727 2070

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