By Frédéric Ogée

Everything begins with a projection towards the light. In the video work Towards the Light, which in a way gives birth to all the material projections that follow, Evi Keller invites us on a spellbinding journey into the heart of a universe of luminous veins, organic breathings, magmatic swellings that spurt forth from the deepest points of light and matter in what could be (or could have been), in perfect synchrony, both our uterine and cosmic worlds. By blending the primal experience of our first existence and the other more remote, more intuitive experienceof the origin of the world, Evi Keller highlights and hides, through a 10-minute visual and auditory meditation, the self-evidence of the most complex mystery of all: that of the origin of all life, of all matter, which is to say that in the beginning, everything is light.

From this mystical impetus, personal and poignant, Evi Keller has extracted a series of magnificent photographs in sepia tones (sepia is, as we know, a tree with medicinal virtues), a precious collection of still images that invite the viewer to contemplation, to experience these «silent transformations» whose concentrated temporality leads us back to the intimate. After the astral experience of the video, these image-pictures appear to be so many pictorial meditations, where the dark light, from the depths of the composition, makes the other three elements – water, air, and earth – vibrate, like a Turner painting, in order to express the intimate story of their relationship with matter.

It’s the origin of the world. It’s also the origin of the work of the artist, and what is striking in the trajectory of Evi Keller’s work is its ontological, even ethical proximity to the enterprises of those artists – Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Chardin, Monet, Rothko, Soulages, Freud – who chose to eliminate any apparent subject from painting in order to make the very search for light-matter the subject of their quest, and thus the real subject of the work, by suggesting that it’s precisely there that we touch the essential.

Here we arrive at the heart of history, which goes from the first magma to the most pregnant patterns of Nature, in particular the numerous evocations of trembling trees, those hyphens linking heaven and earth, in an essential verticality whose reflections in the water highlight the completeness at the same time as they undermine it, thus precluding any mystical certainty.

Triptychs / Triads / Trinities : third step in this sublime artistic quest, the works assembled under the title Light-Matter play in their turn on our dim, elementary sense of this «primordial» history, evoking this time a few traces of our human inscription thereon. By turns stained-glass window, tapestry, oriental rug, kingly coat or chasuble, shimmering of purple and black hues, Evi Keller’s veils of light, in their vital agitation, summon ourmost confused memories, the scariest and undoubtedly the most oneiric in our imagination, in starry triads: Cluny, Holbein, Aubusson ; Persianpalaces, the Doge’s Palace and the Papal palace; the dagger, the ring, the cell; the jugular, alchemy, the tomb; the bloom, the sparkle, the eclipse — the black light.

And if the glimmerings give rise to fugitive appearances of lapis, saffron, ruby or silver hues, the viewer cannot escape for long the effect of the essential, organic, primary triptych of colors throughwhich Evi Keller molds the «light-matter» and attempts to give shape to the indissoluble link between the two: red, gold, and black. By puttingthese three densest of all colors into dialogue, with infinite, everrenewing variations, Evi Keller places her enterprise under the triple sign of blood, light, and death.

For what gives life and death to matter is, indeed, light, without which it will remain inert. That is the artist’s and the poet’s vital work, without which we could never face this self-evidence.

Frédéric Ogée, exhibition «Matière-Lumière»,
Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, 2015.