David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Raoul De Keyser, marking the artist’s first show with the gallery in London. On view at 24 Grafton Street, 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 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. The exhibition marks De Keyser’s first major show in London since his critically acclaimed 2004 traveling survey of paintings at the Whitechapel Gallery.
De Keyser’s subtly evocative paintings are at once straightforward and cryptic, 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.