German plastic artist Evi Keller’s work questions the cosmic principle of matter transformed through light. The imprint of a moment (captured in sculpture, painting, photograph, video, soundscapes, and performance) reveals a process of substantiation which incarnates and progressively transforms itself through installations that the artist refers to as “transition areas”.
Her progression through these areas led the artist to create her Anthropocene era-inspired works, Matière-Lumière. Made from star-born carbon, an essential element of all living matter and continually recycled by man, these works are energised and transformed through absorption, transmission, and reflection to become matter that changes throughout its interaction with the spectator. Through this alchemical process, Keller transforms the memory of hundreds of millions of years into works of art.
This unique piece, dominated by grey and silver tones, is cunningly illuminated with subtle, moving plays of light, specially designed by Keller for the Domain’s Bee Barn.
The viewer finds himself confronted with the result of this quasi-alchemical transmutation, a fascinating transformation of matter from the depths of the earth into a mysterious and delicate matrix.
“Just like Demeter’s daughter, the goddess Persephone; crossing through the shadows to be born in the light of spring, Evi Keller reconnects with the buried memory of matter to bring her work into the light. She has given the unique title, Matière-Lumière, to a creation which unfolds in different media: sculpture, painting, photography, video, sound, and performance. Like an alchemist, the artist transforms and sublimates this vibrant matter and engraves it with spirituality; an immediate, incarnate relationship is formed with her work, which surrounds us like living skin. From the moment of its creation, the very point of revelatory apparitions, an “other” dimension opens up, linking us to the “living cosmos”, to borrow a phrase from anthropologist Edgar Morin. The artist’s touch subtly brings the body and the spirit into play to resonate with a world in perpetual motion.” Fanny Revault, Art Interview, 2021
“Matière-Lumière also carries within itself a contemporary issue… As witnesses of the Age of Man, products of processing petroleum created deep within the earth, the plastic sheets incarnate the memory of hundreds of millions of years. When I transform this material into a work of art, it is regenerated by its return to the source, becoming organic and alive once again. Creating a Matière-Lumière is an act of repair. It raises the question of man’s rebirth, as well as the question of his reappropriation of his own humanity.” Taken from an interview with Evi Keller in 2021.
Evi Keller was born in Bad Kissingen, Germany, in 1968, and studied art history, photography, and graphic art in Munich during the 1990s before settling in Paris where she worked as a photographer. In 2000 she opened her own studio and in 2001 she debuted a cycle of installations entitled The World In Between.
The following year, an installation of Matière-Lumière was exhibited at Brussels CENTRALE for contemporary art. During an exhibition of her works at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a conference was held entitled “La matière au-delà du visible autour de Jean Dubuffet et Evi Keller [Matter beyond the visible in the works of Jean Dubuffet and Evi Keller]”.
In 2017, philosopher and exhibition coordinator Joke Hermsen chose one of Keller’s key works to be a part of the Château Kairos exhibition at Gassbeek Castle in Belgium, alongside the work of Georgia Russell, Anri Sala, Hans Op de Beeck, Pipilotti Rist, Chiharu Shiota, Otobong Nkanga, and Antony Gormley. Keller also participated in the exhibition Passion de l’art: Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger depuis 1925 at the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence, along with artists such as Paul Klee, Vassily Kandinsky, Alberto Giacometti, Max Ernst, Nicolas de Staël, Mark Tobey and Jean Dubuffet.
Throughout the recent years, Keller has also fostered frequent collaborations with contemporary musicians and dancers. In 2018, she decided to dedicate herself exclusively to the creation of a monumental installation entitled Performance/Matière/Lumière (exhibited in the Église Saint-Eustache during the 2019 edition of the Nuit Blanche). Like an initiation ritual, the artist welcomes spectators into the intimate and personal experience of multiple visions of matter’s transformation through light.
Evi Keller is represented by the Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger in Paris.