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Anton Kern Gallery announced the passing of Eberhard Havekost
Eberhard Havekost, Lifesize, B12, 2012, Öl auf Leinwand, 60 x 100 cm. Courtesy Eberhard Havekost, Anton Kern Gallery, New York und Galerie Gebr. Lehmann Dresden/Berlin. Photo: Werner Lieberknecht, Dresden.


NEW YORK, NY.- Anton Kern Gallery announced the passing of their dear friend and artist, Eberhard Havekost. Anton first saw Havekost’s work in 1997 in Dresden, and subsequently gave him his first solo exhibition in New York in 1998. He had eight solo exhibitions at the gallery, and was an integral and beloved part of their community. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

Havekost described painting as a hybrid form, defining it as an additive process in contrast to photography‘s cut-out frame. He understood painting as an “offer of rhythm” in which the dissolution of the rhythmic structure itself is revealed: “Painting engenders rhythm through its self-referentiality. It introduces an abstraction, namely a reduction in favor of the total picture. In painting, everything must be defined. An undefined space in photography must be defined in painting. Thus, an undefined space in painting must be redefined. Information is a transformation of reality or a structuring of reality. Every picture has a system contact. You can always infer from a single picture to a system. I don’t think that there are any individual images.” Paintings held real significance for him, when they contained a “residual secrecy.” The subject, the motif of the image must, as he said in an interview “deliver something unknown, a charge that I cannot dissolve mentally.” Making pictures might have been a way to move closer to the mystery of reality - without deciphering it ultimately. The unsayable made visible.

Maximum concentration was one of Eberhard Havekost’s basic requirements for painting. To achieve this, he structured his everyday life entirely around his own art production in order to create as much time and space for art as possible. This absolute primacy of art was a great luxury for him. Havekost knew that creating his work, paradoxically, also required a break with the very logic of production: a “moment beyond control and optimization.” This is also why he never worked with assistants. Conscious of these productive contradictions, his painterly practice seemed to effortlessly synthesize the antagonisms of contemporary visual culture itself. His images were often read by the public as cool, distant access points to the present through recurrent and sometimes distorted motifs such as caravans, cheap modernist facades, glider hulls, trees, appropriated newspaper photos or popular science book illustrations. The more they cut to the core of an ugly or banal present, the more chilling the effect of their contemplation. In Havekost‘s work, the abstract and non-specific quality of non-places and everyday things becomes strangely tangible. Conversely, the supposed uniqueness of everyday things becomes abstract. In part because of this dynamic, the painter rejected the old distinction between “figurative“ and “abstract“ as superfluous categories.

Eberhard Havekost was born in 1967 in Dresden, the son of a sculptor and a taxidermist. As a student of the renowned Dresden Kreuzschule, he sang with the Kreuzchor and participated in international concert tours until his voice changed. After graduating in the mid-eighties, he completed his training as a stonemason. Before the fall of the wall, Havekost fled from the German Democratic Republic via Budapest in 1989. From 1991 to 1996, he studied painting at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, finishing his time as a master student of Ralf Kerbach. In 1995, he had his first solo exhibition in the gallery Gebr. Lehmann in Dresden. In the mid-nineties, he received a scholarship to go to Frankfurt, where he immersed himself in the techno club scene. Later, he moved to Berlin, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In 2010, Havekost was appointed Professor of Painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. His paintings have been exhibited in major German and international institutions and are represented in numerous institutional and private collections, including the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museu Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea in Porto, and the Tate Modern in London.

Eberhard Havekost died unexpectedly in Berlin on July 5, 2019 at the age of 51.





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