PHILIPP KEEL, “SPLASH”

Philipp Keel allows himself to be surprised by the magic of the fleeting moment and records what he sees: chance encounters, everyday occurrences. His aim is not to reproduce reality but consciously to alter it by alienating or reducing it. e viewer needs to look precisely because the apparently normal becomes distorted in Philipp Keel’s images.
A picture can be taken in a matter of seconds, but subsequent work on the image in the laboratory can take months, or even more than a year. Philipp Keel devotes himself to this process with experimental fervour and a meticulousness bordering on obsession. In the process, he imbues form and colour with an intensity that abstracts the commonplace. Leaves floating on water cast shadows, a woman’s pale, white legs dipped in a pool, the shimmering heat of the Sierra Nevada beyond the car window, or a glowing Ferris wheel vibrating before our eyes: Philipp Keel’s work brims with poetry: at once beautiful yet mysterious.

“The works in Splash circle more around a discipline, a quest for authentic form, which finds it’s origins in painting traditions. The operative means, by which the relativity of the pictures is constructed, generate the photographic tropes of restraint. The photographs are convincing and captivating precisely because they reveal themselves to be just pictures, made from relative representations of the phenomenal”. Tobia Bezzola, director of the Museum Folkwang, Essen (from the text »Shadows in Color« from the book »Splash«, Steidl 2017)

“The chance element in my work is not that I am confronted by a particular motif, but that I happen to have a camera with me at that decisive moment. From then on, I change from being a collector of images to an experimenter”. Philipp Keel

Philipp Keel, artist and author, is also the publisher of Diogenes. He studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and at Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in Munich, before moving to California and working in various artistic disciplines. Keel’s photographs, paintings, drawings, and prints have been exhibited worldwide. He became internationally known for the bestseller series All About Me (Broadway Books, 1998), for Color (Steidl, 2003) and the book series Simple Diary (TA- SCHEN). In 2014 Keel published the catalogue State of Mind (Nieves) to accompany his exhibition at Villa Flor in Schanf, featuring drawings, watercolors, and Silkscreen Editions. In 2017 Steidl published the monography “Splash” (Steidl, 2017), which presents a rigorous selection of Keel’s photographic work from the past years.

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