Saturday, February 11, 2017

JOSEPH Le Blog / Picture This - interview

JOSEPH Le Blog - Picture This // Michiel Keuper - screen shot

My Instagram account is featured in the section Picture This on JOSEPH Le Blog; for link click here.
Below the full interview about images that catch my eye, how I juxtapose my account and why I coined the term visual composer to describe my work.

Michiel Keuper - Untitled, 2016, acrylic and ink on magazine.

I am fascinated by juxtapositions. Juxtapositions of color, material, content, atmosphere and often a combination of them all. The moment when single components add up and create something unexpected, something new. The moment when 1 + 1 becomes 3. The moment when the sum is greater than the parts.
My Instagram posts are often spontaneous, but never random. Though I never post something I don't like to start with, for my IG account I select images for how they relate to each other in the grid, and not so much for their single value. In fact I spend most of the time in my image files and not in the app itself. I spend hours shuffling and reshuffling my preselection until I find a satisfying order. This is a rather intuitive process, almost like painting. Often the order changes per day. Each post evokes a next one. Sometimes I find images that I love and I'm dying to post, but when they don't fit the stream I keep them in the mix for days or even weeks. Often it means I'll have to find other images first, to complement them. It's a matter of patience and restraint, waiting for the right moment.
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JOSEPH Le Blog - Picture This // Michiel Keuper - screen shot

It's almost like making a puzzle. I often call it my daily image sudoku. Because not only do the single images relate to their left and right neighbors, the IG grid changes order with every post, it creates horizontal, vertical and diagonal connections. It's about finding a rhythm, a stream, it's about the total. After a while I started to realize that my IG gallery as such has become a work in itself. The sum is greater than the parts.

One of my favorite books is the facsimile of Hannah Höch's 'Album' from 1933, in which she magnificently juxtaposes found imagery. Inspired by her I made collage books as well. My Instagram has become a digital version of that same idea.

[text continues after the image]

JOSEPH Le Blog - Picture This // Michiel Keuper - screen shot


Initially my eye gets hooked on the composition of an image, the use (or lack) of color, the atmosphere, emotion or content it conveys. Furthermore, for my IG specifically, I select images that will work on a thumbnail format, since most people use IG on the small screen of their phone. Generally I'm drawn to lesser known images and artists. Therefore I try to be as accurate as possible with credits. Occasionally I post my own work, but only when it fits in the stream.
[text continues after the image]

Michiel Keuper - Untitled, 2016, acrylic and ink on magazine.


I coined the term visual composer, because in essence this is the red thread that connects my work: it's always visual and I'm composing images. Working in many fields, using various media, blurring the lines between art, design, performance etc., I guess I've become kind of a hybrid creator. Whether I create fragmented designs like I used to do in my Paris times, compose an image on a canvas or on a T-shirt, create a spatial design for a dance performance, or juxtapose images on my Instagram account, I'm making visual compositions. 

JOSEPH Le Blog - Picture This // Michiel Keuper - screen shot

JOSEPH Le Blog - Picture This // Michiel Keuper - screen shot

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dapper Dan #14/ Opinions & Inspirations contribution

Dapper Dan  #14, 2016/2017, cover

In the summer I was invited to contribute to Dapper Dan's Opinions & Inspirations section for their upcoming issue. I immediately thought of my first series over over-paintings I made when I transitioned from working in the fashion industry towards an autonomous way of working.

The issue just came out. Very happy to see my story and image in print. 
Thank you Dapper Dan!

Michiel Keuper - From the Past Present (Past Presence) series, 2010, ink and acrylic on magazine

My story to the image: 


In October 1989, during my first months in college, I read an interview with neurobiologist and Nobel prize winner Rita Levi-Montalcini, then 80. What resonated with me most was her interpretation of ‘The Choice’ by William Butler Yeats, a poem she quotes in her autobiography;

The intellect of man is forced to choose/ 
Perfection of the life, or of the work,/ 
And if it take the second must refuse/ 
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark./ 
When all that story's finished, what's the news?/ 
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:/ 
That old perplexity an empty purse,/ 
Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.

Levi-Montalcini: “Yeats gives you two options. Either you choose perfection in your work, with as a reward recognition but at night remorse. Or you lead a calm and serene life, without success and at the end an empty purse. I’ve always refused to make that choice, with as a result deficiency in my work ánd in my life.” 

In 2009, after studying and working in fashion for 20 years, the meaning of Yeats’ poem became evident to me once again. Being absorbed by working in the industry, I guess I suddenly realized I didn’t want to end up having remorse at night for all the things I’d always wanted to do but never allowed myself time for. Painting was one of those things. 

That first year away from my designer life in overdrive, I started a series of works on paper, initially as research for later paintings, using fashion magazines I had amassed over the years. In the Black Series – Past Present (Past Presence) I erased fashion references from magazine pages. An attempt to re-view my past and to find new access to known sources, to create new images from the old.

- Michiel Keuper, visual composer 

Dapper Dan #14 - Opinions and Inspirations Section, spread Glenn Martens (left), Michiel Keuper (right)

Dapper Dan #14 - Michiel Keuper
contribution Opinions and Inspirations Section

Dapper Dan #14, 2016/2017, cover

Friday, April 15, 2016

I SEE RED Interventions / Transitional Sculptures, March 2016

I SEE RED/ Interventions - Transitional Sculpture, Michiel Keuper, March 2016

In March I participated in an improvisational performance series I SEE RED/ Interventionstogether with Peter Pleyer, dancer/choreographer and Andrea Keiz, video artist. Over the course of one week we brought together our individual practices and ideas/projects that we were currently working on. 
Partly inspired by the artist Barbara Kasten, who's known for creating studio settings and subsequently photographing them, I proposed transitional balancing sculptures from different materials, small objects and props. During the performance I would start building and balancing from scratch. Hence the installations were not fixed and the outcome would be different each night. 

From the program:
Inspired by the history of interventions by artists and designers in the field of choreography and vice versa, dancer/choreographer Peter Pleyer and visual composer/designer Michiel Keuper use this series of performances to improvise new space and dance compositions based on their long-term collaboration. On Friday and Saturday they will be joined by video artist Andrea Keiz. With a focus on process, the audience is invited to witness the creation of a landscape of objects, costumes, dances, books, stories and images.

[all photos: Michiel Keuper]

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sophiensaele Image Campaign / Art Work Poster, January 2016

Sophiensaele Image Campaign, spring 2016. Graphic Design: Jan Grygoriew

In January Peter Pleyer and I were commissioned to propose an image for Sophiensaele's Image Campain. Amongst our proposals, the photo with the mask made it onto the poster, and even on the cover of the program leporello. See the ones that didn't make it to the final round here.

Sophiensaele Image Campaign - Program February/ March/ April 2016. Graphic Design: Jan Grygoriew

Visible Undercurrent poster and the Sophiensaele Image Campaign side by side, street view, Berlin, April 2016 

Sophiensaele entrance gate, street view, April 2016

The original image. Photo / Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer, 2016

Thursday, March 03, 2016

I SEE RED/ Interventions / Invitation

I SEE RED/ Interventions - Invitation postcard. Photo/Art Direction: KeuperPleyer

I SEE RED/ Interventions. 
An improvisation event by PETER PLEYER and MICHIEL KEUPER with ANDREA KEIZ and other Guests
DOCK11 - Fri 11 / Sat 12 / Sun 13 at 19h.
Peter Pleyer will be ranting (hence I SEE RED) about the state of performing art in general and the Berlin status quo in particular with his mix of improvised movement, readings and monologues. Michiel Keuper will come up with visual interventions of the spacial and bodily kind. Andrea Keiz will contribute with video and moving images. Susanne Martin, Zen Jefferson and other guests will join on one or some of the evenings.
We'd love to see you on one or more of these nights!
Open structure. Each night a different line up. Come pass by. Watch. Engage. Hang out.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Work in progress/ Proposals Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016

Proposal Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016 - Photo/ Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer

Art work proposals for a poster commissioned by Sophiensaele Berlin. In collaboration with Peter Pleyer. A selection of images that didn't make it to the final round, but I find interesting nevertheless. We ended up using an image from this series for the invitation for our performance I SEE RED/ Interventions in March 2016.

Proposal Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016 - Photo/ Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer

Proposal Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016 -
Photo/ Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer

Proposal Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016 - Photo/ Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer

Proposal Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016 -
Photo/ Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer

Proposal Sophiensaele Poster, January 2016 -
Photo/ Art Direction: Keuper Pleyer

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Project HZT BA Students / Costumes, February 2016

Costumes for HZT/ UdK student piece, Biennale Tanzausbildung, Cologne, February 2016. Photo Paul Leclaire

In January and February I coached and worked on costumes for a group piece of BA students from HZT/ Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz of the University of Fine Arts/ UdK. The students created an improvisation piece for the Biennale Tanzausbildung in Cologne.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Zinzi Sheena Tove Larry / Portraits & Art Direction, November 2015

ZSTL - Photography/ Art Direction Michiel Keuper, 2015

In November I was comissioned by a collective of strong women; Zinzi Buchanan, Sheena McGrandles, Tove Sahlin and Laura Larry Arrington, to make portraits and do art direction for publicity material for their upcoming collaboration.

ZSTL - Photography/ Art Direction Michiel Keuper, 2015

ZSTL - Photography/ Art Direction Michiel Keuper, 2015

ZSTL - Photography/ Art Direction Michiel Keuper, 2015

ZSTL - Photography/ Art Direction Michiel Keuper, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Unfinishing / Costume & Set Design, September 2015

Michiel Keuper - Drum Kit Sculpture on optical illusion plinth for Unfinishing by Martin Nachbar, September 2016

In September I designed costumes and set for Unfinishing, a piece by Martin Nachbar in collaboration with drummer Steve Heather. It premiered in Sophiensaele (more info on the piece click here). The starting point for the costume was a contemporary form of shamanism. For the set I investigated in doubling and used the two pillars in the space as a center point. I replicated the drum kit Claes Oldenburg style in canvas. Also I made four optical illusion carpets/ plinths.

Dance: Martin Nachbar/ Drums: Steve Heather/ Dramaturgy: Jeroen Peeters/ Lights: Bruno Pocheron/ Costume, Set: Michiel Keuper/ Coaching: Zoe Knights/ Management: Susanne Beyer.

(All photos, video: Michiel Keuper)