“Everything begins with an impulse towards the light. In the video Towards the Light, which was to some extent responsible for the birth of all the projections of matter that followed, Keller invites us on a captivating journey to the heart of a universe filled with illuminated veins, organic breaths, and bulges of magma that from the depths of light and matter cause something to emerge that might be (or could have been) our perfectly synchronised uterine and cosmic worlds. Blending the primal experience of our first-hand existence with the more intuitive one, farther back, of the origin of the world, during a ten-minute visual and sound meditation, Evi Keller causes the appearance and disappearance of the evidence of the most complex mystery of all, that of the origin of life and matter, which is to say that in the beginning all was light. (…)
This is the origin of the world and also of the artist’s work, and what is so striking in the perusal of Evi Keller’s different works is the ontological, or even ethical, nearness with the process of artists like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Chardin, Monet, Rothko, Soulages, and Freud, who chose to eliminate any apparent subject from the painting in order to make matter and light itself the object of their quest and therefore the real subject of their works, suggesting that this is where we touch on what is truly essential. (…) We are here in the heart of History, which goes from the original magma to the most meaningful of Nature’s motifs, especially the many evocations of trembling trees, unifying lines connecting heaven and earth in an essential verticality whose reflections in water emphasise their completeness while also rendering them fragile, thus foreshadowing all mystic certitude. (…)” Frédéric Ogée, from the exhibition Matière-Lumière by Evi Keller, Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, 2015
“The observation of interactions between the two primordial elements, water and fire, has for many years lived in and sparked the whole of my creative process. The many years of visiting frozen lakes that I photographed during their transformation allowed me to create the video Towards the Light – silent transformations and was, in this sense, a key experience for me.
The transitions through water’s different phases, that is to say, its changes into ice, liquid, and steam, made me realise that there is a universal process of transformation which manifests itself in the deepest part of our being, the furthest away from us, on a scale that is both infinitely tiny and infinitely large. This is the moment where the magical transition of matter lets a majestic world appear within the reflections of light. Filled with a deep sense of peace, I felt that the universe had placed within us, in a subtle state, the equivalent of everything that we could find outside of us, and that it is crucial to reconnect with these changes in the universal cycle. This realisation of a transformative process that resonates in our deepest being guided me naturally towards the creation of Matière-Lumière. The video Towards the light – silent transformations and the series of photographs both testify of this almost-mystic revelation or waking dream; they are the matrix and the true cradle of my creation, a principle of hope for a humanity who realises the power of the light on every level. Because of this, certain parts of the video might evoke the metaphor of a buried, burning sun, which is regenerated, reborn, and amplified to become a true sun, as well as incarnating the ecological dimension of a collective consciousness, a vision of a more respectful humanity that stops consuming fossil resources and has the wisdom to exploit the primordial energy of the living sun.” 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.