About the artist
1985 born in Grimma, Germany
2006-2008 study of visual arts at the AdBK Nürnberg, Germany, with Prof. Rolf-Gunter Dienst
2008-2014 study of painting and graphic arts at the HfBK Dresden, Germany, with Prof. Elke Hopfe and Prof. Ralf Kerbach
2016-2018 Master at the HGB Leipzig with Prof. Annette Schröter
For an up to date CV including exhibitions, please visit the artist's website
About the work
Eric Keller's pictures show places and people, cities and landscapes, portraits. However, they are not about the representation of a place or a person, but about the recording of experienced moments, moods and sequences. The paintings are not based on photographs, but on drawings and sketches and, above all, on the artist's autobiographical memory.
While Eric Keller's earlier paintings are relatively detailed and concrete, his more recent works show an increasing formal generalization and reduction. In the cognitive process, the detail loses more and more of its significance. While it is the nature of our minds to reduce and emotionally reproduce memories, Keller's paintings show the "homogeneous coloration" that shapes our episodic memories. His pictures are dominated mostly by pale shades of grey, ochre or brown. All pictorial elements, even brightly coloured areas, form part of an overall style. It is difficult to interpret this colouring from an emotional standpoint because the pictures make a multi-layered impression. What at first appears to be an idyll, becomes exposed as a wasteland; what presents itself as a beautiful impression becomes a subtle, sober coming to terms with the past. Much of Eric Keller's work is reminiscent of the Romantics of the 19th century, with its contrast between security and the simultaneous longing for distance as well as the almost infinite silence and vastness and the melancholy of contemplative moments.
Eric Keller needs time. In his studio, his paintings undergo constant changes and over-paintings, going through many different states before the work is finished. His brushstroke is sometimes rough, so that traces of things painted over remain present as artefacts. Glazed surfaces allow some glimpses of the underlying layers of paint, and over-paintings are sometimes deliberately coarse. Most of the paintings are on MDF. The support, whose edges are sometimes roughly cut or broken, together with the painting technique produces an extremely rough, but authentic aesthetic. The works seem almost timeless, as if they could have been created today or decades ago. This is also emphasized by the lack of temporal references.
Since the depictions seem to be the artist’s memories, it is obvious that Eric Keller must also be part of those moments. As a painter, however, he distances himself from the subject and takes a detached, analytical position, which is passed on directly to viewer.
Keller's pictures are ultimately a fiction that shows us an emotional perception of reality.
Text in German by Tilman Bruhn, 2015
Artist website: www.erickeller.net