ARTIST:

Eberhard Havekost

Eberhard Havekost
Bowling 2, 2000
Oil on Canvas
200 x 200cm

Based in Dresden, Eberhard Havekost often paints the city’s modernist-style buildings as a means to reference 20th century post-war politics and failed utopian vision. Havekost explores the parallels between these systemic ideas of perfection and the modes of ideal image construction. Working from his own collection of photos and video footage, Havekost alters the original images on a computer: hues are subtly altered, forms imperceptibly stretched and skewed. These complications are then further translated through the process of painting. What Havekost presents isn’t photographic precision, but rather transient moments of abstracted perception; the intentional ‘errors’ make the image appear more natural and visually pleasing. In Bowling 2, the tower block has been altered in its perspective and lighting. The attenuate distortion transforms an instance of banality into one of harmonious beauty.

Eberhard Havekost
CAR PARK 4, 2001
Oil on Canvas
90 x 180cm

Using the devices of photographic representation, Eberhard Havekost exposes the complex processes by which images are interpreted and inter-related. In Carpark 4, the picture is cropped to extreme close up; a scene read as momentary glimpse or ‘snap shot’. Through painting, Havekost transforms this plebeian view to create a disquieting experience from the overtly familiar. Editing the image down to its most functional elements, Havekost’s painting becomes almost pure abstraction: the windscreen is a field of fluctuating depth, framed by compositional blocks of colour. By selectively emphasising and omitting an image’s qualities, Havekost’s paintings operate like memory. Their associative form becomes subliminally dismantled for intimate contemplation and rumination.

Eberhard Havekost
Intro 1, 2001
Oil on Canvas
80 x 180cm

In Intro I, Eberhard Havekost uses the representational as a point of departure into the abstract; the subject of the airplane becomes incidental to the compositional form it creates. Elongated bands of colour stretch across Havekost’s canvas advancing and receding in tonal perspective; the shapes and patterns of the plane act as elements of geometric design. Havekost uses thin layers of paint to emphasise the painting’s contradictory flatness. Intro I possesses a feeling of weightlessness reminiscent of film projection.

Eberhard Havekost
Kontakt, 1998
Oil on Canvas
180 x 129cm

Radiating with the promise of newness, Eberhard Havekost’s Kontakt stresses the graphic qualities of high-rise buildings and the US flag to institute a logo-ised model of America. Devoid of any humanistic detail, Havekost’s scene is reduced to a grid of flat colour. By outlining the flag with heavy black line, Havekost draws reference to Pop Art. Here consumerism and uniformity combine to generate an astringently alien effect, awesome in its power and superficiality. Predating 9/11, Kontakt contains an almost ominous forbearance, emblematic of an unblemished innocence.

Eberhard Havekost
Mobile 1, 2002
Oil on Canvas
140 x 200cm

Eberhard Havekost re-invents painterly supremacy. Taken from personal photos and media sources, his imagery is rendered to highlight the limits of their own mechanically reproduced distortion: speed is represented with the blurry lines of film, colours are unnatural, and grim buildings and landscapes are given a clinical rebirth. Seeing painting as a method of improving on reality, Havekost portrays his subjects with a harsh artificial light, making intimately recognisable scenes seem stiffly manufactured and strange, resonating with the newness of expertly packaged products. In Mobile 1, Eberhard Havekost paints a train carriage: attending only to its formal elements his familiar image is twice removed from reality, becoming a casual mixture of lines and squares, a pure representation of modernity and momentum.

Eberhard Havekost
Untitled, 1997
Oil on Canvas
150 x 100 cm

“Because I always see the precise photographic basis while I paint, I sense how the image forever oscillates between two levels of meaning,” Eberhard Havekost explains. “What I see while I experience, I combine with the act of looking at an image produced by the media.” Through his layered process, Eberhard Havekost is acutely aware of how a painting inherently departs from its original subject to gain its own self-referential dynamic. In Untitled, his tower block becomes almost unrecognisable from its source. Translated through the organic intervention of his brush, Untitled invents its own values of interpretation: the meditative qualities of surface, composition and gesture.

Quotes taken from ‘Interview with Florian Illies’ Intervista Con La Pittura Gianni Romano, Postmedia Books 2003.

Eberhard Havekost
Shelf, 2002
Oil on Canvas
94 x 180cm

Eberhard Havekost’s Shelf does the opposite of what a still-life should. Unlike traditional still-life painting where consumables are rendered as symbols of wealth and death, Havekost conveys these ideas through the presentation of an empty display unit. Set against a dense black backdrop, Havekost paints his shelves with the harsh dead light of department store showcases; glamour without product becomes a discomforting void. The lighting effect of the horizontal shelves carries the optical illusion of movement, as if this exhibition of nothingness is speeding past in continuum.

Eberhard Havekost
Zelte II, 1998
Oil on Canvas
183 x 140cm

Eberhard Havekost often paints series of repetitive images to replicate the serial change of visual effect in nature. In Zelte II, Havekost captures an idyllic view of an apartment block bathed in sunshine; it’s a transitory moment, a fragile instance of sublimity in the constant movement of light. Monumentalised in scale and enhanced through intensity of colour, Havekost fixes this phenomenon in space and time. Like finding the perfect film still in 24 hours of footage, Havekost isolates the defining climax. Through capturing the instantaneous his paintings resonate with an intense anticipation, frozen on the periphery of expectant flux.
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