Dieter De Kerf

Dieter De Kerf

St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp

The painter Dieter de Kerf has a special approach to his work. It is not the motive or the image he has in his head when painting that is decisive for what can finally be seen on his finished artworks. He is not only concerned with the finished picture but with the process behind it. Most of his paintings have an intensive process of creation, in which the artist works long on certain paintings, where others are the result of a quick usage of brushstrokes. He himself says that they contain a kind of autobiography of his life, because these pictures are worked on in different phases of life and with different emotional states. He does not approach the work with the thought of the finished painting but lets what can be seen on the canvas at the end come to him. Repeatedly parts are painted over or changed. It is not the aesthetics in a painting that is important to him. It is the process and his feeling of what should be seen on the canvas. While working with the paint, he examines what a painting is supposed to be for him. Plasticity and movement can be experienced in the works. The artist is in constant dialogue with himself and uses it to create.

Five of his oil paintings can be seen in the exhibition in Duesseldorf. The works communicate with each other, each one is a product of the process just described and the artist plays with the viewer’s association. Not only the feelings of the painter are visible in the works, but emotions are also aroused in the beholders. Cool, bright colours attract attention. The most eye-catching and here twice appearing motive is the lifeless skinned body of a rabbit. Geometric shapes and tile patterns in the paintings create a strong contrast to the fleshy forms. The abstraction in the works leaves the viewer room for interpretation, the figurative elements reinforce the emerging feelings.

© Anna Heldmann