April, 26 2024    Press release (e)   

Lux Aeterna

Long Story Short Gallery is thrilled to present Lux Aeterna, Lena Keller's first solo show in the US; the exhibition is on display from May 10 to June 23, 2024, at 52 Henry St, New York, NY, 10002.

The title, Lux Aeterna, derived from a sequence of Mozart's Requiem, conjures the notion of perpetual light. The artist considers this piece both as a farewell anthem in an era of ecological challenges and as a promising tribute to a constant force that underlies any form of life and matter. During the working process in the studio, Keller found resonance in the sound and composition of the liturgy, while religious references do not inform her work.

Keller's paintings show scenic landscapes of glowing hues devoid of precise geographical or temporal context. Tempting with their contrasting and luminous palette, the works simultaneously elude immediate access through blurring and often merging contours of the depicted motifs. The human figure is absent and leaves the sites suspended in an indeterminate, vague state, providing viewers with an eerie silence.
Refraining from illustrating explicit narratives, the artist fuels an atmosphere of longing and detachment. The works always fluctuate on the threshold of the real and the artificial, thus reflecting their creation process as Keller employs manipulated image collages as preliminary drafts. On the canvas, she confronts these digital chimeras with the peculiarities of the physical painting process. This yields hazy, smooth depictions, vibrating throughout numerous thin layers of oil paint. In this way, the artist links to our viewing experiences, shaped by constant screen illumination that envelops us like a perpetual light.

Lena Keller, based near Munich, Germany, delves deeply into painting as a medium, drawing from the classic genre of landscape painting to explore our contemporary connection with nature. Her works blend representational depictions with digital influences through collage, editing, and manipulation of personal and found images. In examining the disparity between the original and depiction through painting a mutation, Keller’s art emphasizes painting's unique ability to convey truth through approximation rather than direct reproduction. This results in a pictorial reality that is both familiar and intriguingly enigmatic.
Since earning her honors degree in Fine Art/Painting (Meisterschülerin) from the Academy of Fine Arts Munich in 2022 under the guidance of Karin Kneffel, Lena Keller's work has garnered recognition in institutional exhibitions and international galleries and art fairs, including the Museum Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the Museum Fürstenfeldbruck, Untitled art fair in Miami, Art Busan art fair in Busan, Positions art fair in Berlin, and Art Karlsruhe art fair. She has also held solo shows at Galerie Sabine Bayasli in Paris, 68projects by Kornfeld Galerie in Berlin, and Galerie Heckenhauer in Munich. Keller's art is housed in the federal permanent collections of the Kunstsammlung des Deutschen Bundestages in Berlin and the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, and she has been honored with the Karl-Trautmann-Preis by the Kester-Haeusler-Stiftung. Additionally, she holds a postgraduate scholarship from the Bavarian State Government's program Junge Kunst und neue Wege.