Expulsion from Paradise Freeze
April 2, 2016
For his seventh solo exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery, German painter Eberhard Havekost has put together a group of 25 paintings under the title Expulsion from Paradise Freeze. The works in the exhibition fall under two categories, representational and non-representational, however, they are arranged in a way that suggests narrative links. These connections are often elucidated, sometimes challenged by the titles, which range from abstract terms, e.g. Wesen (being) or 3 Minuten (3 minutes) to descriptive names such as Baum (tree) or Oliven Öl (olive oil).
Havekost confronts the viewer with the familiar and the unfamiliar. Familiar to most viewers, along with the clearly depicted objects, will be the artist’s meticulous and confident painting technique and his evidently photographic reference material. Unfamiliar, at least at first view and in this juxtaposition, will be the gestural paintings that Havekost introduces here on such pronounced scale. Painted in thick impasto, often mixing two colors into one bold stroke, straight or angular, though rarely edgy or hurried, they seem to contain the physical memory of the artist’s hand. On closer view, the gestural paintings open up and gain an astonishing legibility. The colors clearly emerge from the representational paintings’ palette. The marks are so deliberately and slowly set, and simultaneously purged of any descriptive burden, that they display an immense sense of togetherness and purpose beyond all conceptual or methodical constrictions.
A key work here is a small painting titled De Kooning Traum (The De Kooning Dream). Not only does the painting reference the late painter’s biomorphic abstraction but also and most notably, it depicts Havekost’s own de Kooning dream (not a dream of a de Kooning painting!). Perhaps in a hint to Philip K. Dick’s novel’s title “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Havekost seems to ask, do painters dream of paint and how? The best evidence on why Havekost does what he does may lie not in specific procedures or interpretive concepts but in the finished painted image itself. So let’s freeze and consider this moment of being kicked out of the paradise that the innocent comfort of conceptual conceits has become. Let’s follow the artist into images of Begehren (desire), of Europa/Asien (Europe/Asia), of Gestaltung (Forming), Transformers, Märchenwald (fairy tale forest) and the Sweet Exorcist!
Eberhard Havekost lives and works in Berlin and Düsseldorf, Germany, where he teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited continuously since the early 1990s, most recently in one-person shows at Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg, Germany (2013); the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2012), the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden (2011), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2010), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (2010), ‘Harmony 2’, Stedelijk, Amsterdam (2006). Havekost’s work is included in the collections of MoMA, New York, the Denver Art Museum, LA MOCA, Tate Modern, Städel Museum Frankfurt, Serralves Museum Porto, Kunsthaus Zürich. In the fall of 2016 Havekost’s work will be featured in the inaugural solo exhibition of the new Kindl Center for Contemporary Art in Berlin.
2016New York Magazine
2016Time Out NY