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17.01—15.02.19    BOEKS 01: De Keyser’s stockings BOEKS (Arcade Kunstenbibliotheek) expo

BOEKS, a new platform for showing books on the Bijloke site in Ghent, presents: De Keyser’s Stockings. Between 1966 and 1976, Raoul De Keyser produced about thirty works in which a sock pops up. This simple and jolly motif is pictured in paintings and drawings, developed in silk-screen prints, water colours and a litho, its shape ranging from soccer socks to cycling socks, next to long blue socks on a clothes line and a minimal little soccer sock in a wide white colourfield. All of these paintings and paper works have now been collected into a publication for the very first time, in conjunction with related documents from the artist’s personal archive, such as studio pictures, notes made by the artist and photographs of soccer socks. In addition to reproductions of the paintings by Hilde D’haeyere, the book also contains texts by Roland Jooris, Steven Jacobs and Paul Demets, putting the sock motif in an art-historical and poetic perspective.

The decade in which socks appear in De Keyser’s work is an important period in the artist’s oeuvre. The attention to the vernacular, the domestic and the concrete, which De Keyser translates into bright colourfields and vivid colour combinations in the 1960s, slowly makes way for the more ascetic, fundamental and minimalist style of his work from the 1970s.

In a text from 1972, included in this publication, Roland Jooris writes: “By expressly highlighting the thing, surrounded only by the almost imperceptibly emotionally applied white, De Keyser isolates the soccer sock from its context, liberates it from any traditional-compositional concern and relates it only to the dimensions of the painting.” De Keyser’s socks appear on the canvas as shadowless objects, as flattened colourfields folded and stretched along the canvas. This way, they also function as a form of research into or reflection on the art of painting as such.

Raoul De Keyser mentions the sock in a list of motifs: “Flattened fields, sock, goal post, white-water canoe, corner hit, canvas, cinder track, box, water surface, river bank, steering wheel, doorknob.”

For Steven Jacobs, these images meet in a “landscape of recreation in which soccer, camping, swimming, and canoeing became part of a new way of life, while colorful stockings are waving in the wind on the washing lines in Flemish gardens.”

De Keyser’s stockings will fill the convent corridor from 18 January until 17 February. The publication will be presented on Thursday 17 January. Especially for this occasion, Paul Demets will read from his new poems, Bert Huyghe will sing the praises of De Keyser and Paul Robbrecht will design a scenography, custom-made for the book and the corridor. In addition, the Kunstenbibliotheek will show a selection of books from the collection.

De Keyser’s Stockings will be the first BOEKS presentation. Every month, for one night, a book, its maker and publisher take center stage. Afterwards, remains stick around on walls, ceilings and floors. Along the way a BOEKS collection comes into being.

BOEKS celebrates printed matter, thick and thin, young and old, unique and serial, legible and illegible. Above all, BOEKS loves and highlights precisely those books that ask for it, because they are good, still unknown or fed up with the stacks or boxes they are confined to. BOEKS collaborates, contextualizes, supports and produces. The platform shows text, visual art and graphic design.

BOEKS is an initiative of KASK and the Kunstenbibliotheek and is housed in the 15th-century convent corridor connecting the Kunstenbibliotheek with the STAM.

  • Expo: 18.01.19 – 15.02.19
  • Opening: 17.01.19 - 19:00
  • Opening hours: Mo – We: 09:00 – 18:00 / Thu: 09:00 – 22:00 / Fr: 09:00 – 16:00
  • Godshuizenlaan 2A, 9000 GENT, Free