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Museum Küppersmühle for Modern Art, Duisburg exhibits the work 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. Foto: Werner Lieberknecht, Dresden.

DUISBURG.- As a creative force, Eberhard Havekost ranks among those artists who have over the past decade helped to shape new German painting and wielded a decisive influence on the international art scene. They have, on the one hand, availed themselves of the technological advances in the digital media for creating their painterly images, whilst, on the other, exploring their consequences and impact. The central issue informing Eberhard Havekost’s oeuvre are the subjectivity of our perception and the relationship between subject and object and that of man to nature and the material world, which he challenges the viewer to reflect upon.

The latest edition within the Akademos series, currently being staged for the eighth time in the Museum Küppersmühle and launched to present the works of distinguished professors at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, is now dedicated to the artist and some 100 of his works. The main focus is on his more recent paintings from the years 2008 to 2013. Alone 20, partly serial works, created ahead of the exhibition in 2013, are being unveiled here for the first time.

Working from photographic sources, Eberhard Havekost has turned away from the mere reproduction of reality in his paintings towards a re-construction of his images independent of tradition and nature. His choice of motifs can encompass anything - man, nature, landscape, architecture, advertising posters, film sequences, etc. He manipulates his photographic source material using digital image-processing techniques, selecting cuttings, distorting, enlarging or minimizing the motifs, altering the colours and contrast. The resulting print-outs then serve him as a kind of modern sketch book for his paintings which are then "conventionally" transferred from the eye to the hand and onto the canvas using a brush and oil colours to reveal a fascinating painterly mastery and versatility.

And although the modifications made by Eberhard Havekost often only marginally skew our traditional view of the motifs and the degree of alienation remains within bounds, his works deconstruct our conventional modes of seeing and thinking, and inspire the viewer to reappraise his perception of the world around him. "From this myriad of images, which confront us on a daily basis, he selects one, paints it and thus endows it with new meaning. In this way, paintings are created, which always question the truthfulness of what is perceived at first glance and raise the viewers awareness for the subjectivity of the world around them." , explains MKM director Walter Smerling.

In comparison to his earlier mainly figurative and representational works which are largely distinguished by their photorealistic perfection, the more recent canvasses now featured in the exhibition "TITEL" include numerous abstract, often serial paintings such as Papier, B12-13 (2012/13), Licht 1–3, B13 (2013) and Ausdruck 1+2, B13 (2013). However, it would be an over-simplification to view this trend as a paradigm shift in the work of Eberhard Havekost, as a decision for or against abstraction or figuration, which came to shape 20th century painting: "His new paintings, among his finest yet, begin to test the possibility of moving away from the familiar oppositional categories – photography and experience, mine and yours, subject and object – to find the moments of interaction between them that deserve their own name, their own paintings." (Katy Siegel, catalogue)

"Only the best for our students" reads the inscription on the steps of the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. And "only the best for our public" is the guiding philosophy of the Küppersmühle Museum, which the Akademos exhibition series seeks to honour. Staged since 2001 at regular intervals in the MKM, the series showcases the work of the academy professors with the objective of not only promoting discourse between art academies and museums, but also fuelling debate on issues relating to the art world and the academy itself. Previous Akademos shows featuring Siegfried Anzinger (2001), Hubert Kiecol (2002), Rissa (2003), A.R. Penck (2003), Rosemarie Trockel and Markus Lüpertz (2006), Jörg Immendorff (2007) and Anthony Cragg (2011) have already rendered valuable contributions to this ongoing dialogue. The 2013 exhibition "TITEL" with works by Eberhard Havekost is proudly upholding this tradition.

Eberhard Havekost
Born in 1967, Eberhard Havekost studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts during the 1990s, where from 1997 he was the master student of Ralf Kerbach. Since this time he has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is now represented in several international collections, at, for example, the Museum of Modern Art, New York or London's Tate Modern. In 2010, he was appointed professor at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art – a career path closing matching that of Otto Dix, Gotthard Graubner and Gerhard Richter.

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