The author works with materials that surround us in our daily lived and/or mediated reality. His meticulous painting is based on TV and printed advertisement together with his own photographs, which regularly capture motifs of nature, portraiture and the human figure as well as architecture. Aspects of repetition in Havekost’s oeuvre are as crucial as the permanent tracking of time changes. In relation to contemporary painting we are forced to question once again; what is the motif, what is the title, form and content. Havekost embraces these questions in an original manner that surpasses any categorization.
The exhibition curator Petr Nedoma states: “The starting point of Havekost’s work is primarily photography, practically any type, which he intelligently modifies on a computer. By the use of photography he tries to create an image that, despite an apparent accurate description of reality, is directed from a simple description towards the core of a non-objective message. The development of his work tends to reduce meanings of depictions, thereby increasing the predominance of works whose sole focus is the image itself, seemingly abstract, which is in a way alienated from its original purpose of showing reality. The crucial question is the search for non-descriptive reality, a reality unencumbered by tacky emotions and banality of endlessly repeated and emptied messages and meanings. The vagueness of images is a springboard to the path beyond the painting. The image quality itself, unencumbered by meanings, remains the most important part. It is often quite independent of the displayed theme, which is only used as a support structure for opening the discussion about a world overwhelmed by hypertrophied depiction which is starting to obscure the simple, non-manipulated reality of the world relegated to the background as something inferior and insignificant, and which alters its actual content and meaning.”
In the broader context of contemporary painting, in association with Eberhard Havekost, we can recall the work of Luc Tuymans, and especially Gerhard Richter. Although Richter regarded photography as more of a means to strengthen the significance of painting, and unlike Havekost, Richter never completely gave up on the significance of the theme and content of a depiction. Czech viewers will have the opportunity to directly compare the works of Havekost and Richter during the Czech-German Cultural Spring, which includes not only Eberhard Havekost’s exhibition at Galerie Rudolfinum, but also an exhibition of works by Gerhard Richter at the National Gallery.
Eberhard Havekost (*1967) was born in Dresden, where he studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste. In 1999 he was awarded the prestigious Karl Schmidt-Rottluff scholarship. He is currently a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf. Important institutions where his solo exhibitions were presented include Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, SCHIRN Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He lives and works in Berlin.
The exhibition at Galerie Rudolfinum directly builds on previous presentations of the artist’s work at the KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The selection of works for the Prague exhibition was conceived by Eberhard Havekost, and the curator of the exhibition is director of the Galerie Rudolfinum Petr Nedoma. Along with the exhibition, Galerie Rudolfinum is publishing a catalogue with an introduction by Petr Nedoma and essays by Peter Vaňous, Czech art theorist and curator, and Invar-Torre Hollaus, Swiss art historian.