Raffi Kaiser at the Galerie Friedrich Müller, Frankfurt
Now, should one call this “asiatic”? Or “Japanese”, like the landscape that inspired these sheets, these works that for the most part grew on the soil of memory? Or “romantic"? Or simply: works characterized by great quietude, wisdom and maturity? Such clichés do not carry far when one faces these grandiose yet modest sheets of paper. Raffi Kaiser’s drawings —now exhibited at the Galerie Friedrich Müller that is usually specialized in Japanese art— are a rather calm, quiet art. An art that lives both from the nervous strokes of the artist and from the emptiness that probably was the decisive experience of the 87-year-old Kaiser on his way to draftsmanship.
On his way to a kind of art that is quite different from what he had planned. Had he, after his studies in Tel Aviv, not studied the masters of the Renaissance in Florence, and had he not become known as a painter of peculiarly dreamy works that can best be categorized as magical realism? That was before his discovery of nature. And of quietude. Not just any landscape: the Negev desert was that defining experience which led to many other journeys. There, in the desert, the painter Raffi Kaiser was transformed into the draftsman that we know today.
Ever since, the artist who was born in Jerusalem and lives in Paris, has remained faithful to unpeopled nature, nature that at most shows traces of past civilizations. Although his magnificent panoramas of up to fifty meters length are naturally not exhibited in the gallery, and although one can thus not plunge into the landscape that the artist observed on foot and remembered while drawing: again and again one touches and is touched by the spirit animating these works.
(Translated from German to English by Urs App)
This article is available until September 30th, 2018
Newspaper article about the exhibition of Raffi Kaiser at Gallery Friedrich Müller