Groningen alludes to the solo exhibition by Raoul De Keyser, ‘Rondom de werkelijkheid’ [About reality], which was held in the Groninger Museum (NL) in 1970. Its premise is a work in situ, Voetbalhoek [Football corner], of which there is a black-and-white photograph extant (cf. Steven Jacobs, Raoul De Keyser - Retour 1964-2006, Ludion, 2007, p. 60). The flagpole has been left out, but the chalk lines of the corner of a football pitch can still be seen in the grass.
In the early 1970s tent canvases and chalk lines (of sports fields) were essential motifs in the work of Raoul De Keyser that enabled him to investigate the autonomy of painting serially, entirely in the spirit of what the US critic Clement Greenberg labelled ‘homeless representation’. The paintings from this period have themselves as their subject and form a turning point in the career of Raoul De Keyser. He distanced himself from Raveel’s Nieuwe Visie [New Vision] and this smoothed the way for his later, lyrical abstract work with which he achieved his international breakthrough.
Raoul De Keyser (1930-2012) is one of the most subtle abstract painters of his generation. His oeuvre is poetic, vulnerable and refined at the same time. After the New Vision period, he has been searching for the right way to turn identifiable subjects from everyday life into abstract colour fields and lines ever since the 1960s and 1970s.