Clay Ketter

American , 1961 -

Clay Ketter b. 1961 in Brunswick, Maine, USA, lives and works in Malmo, Sweden. Nothing is instinctive or natural for the American artist Clay Ketter. The world is a carefully worked through, precisely built construction that is entirely artificial, and art provides the means to investigate that construction and make its background available to the senses. "The surface is not magical, it's not a projection. The surface is constructed out of layers upon layers upon layers," as Ketter explained in connection with his 2009 exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. And it is precisely the construction and art and its (re)constructions as a symbol of life that recur in Ketter’s works. The materials may vary, but the point is the same: We construct our world, surroundings, roads and walls, and we create norms for the design of our homes, infrastructure and lived lives. Roads are for Ketter (and in the series Roads, 2002) one long painting - an artery that can tell us a lot about a society. As do the many details of our architecture (Details, 2000). The nightmare vision is the flat, splayed dolls’ houses, neatly arranged in the classical suburban neighbourhood of Anywhereville (2008). Architectural ideals translated into subtly critical painting. A critique also aimed at real life, when Ketter has photographed the abandoned and scoured housing plots left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. Construction, life and destruction are connected, and even when the material seems silent and innocent, the critique is sharp and highly pertinent. Despite their highly constructed nature and gaze, the works of Clay Ketter create emotional meetings, because they touch something very basic - something we all invest deep and basic feelings in.
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