Dirk De Keyzer (born december 19, 1958)
1978-1985 education Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Eeklo, lead by Leo De Buysere
professional sculptor since 1985
In a time and environment where creativity was considered disturbing, rather than being a merit, the Young Dirk De Keyzer found it hard to decide in which direction to head with his life. Like so many boys of his age, he was sent out to learn a craft, destined to go to work in a factory. Other horizons would call though, and that's how he ended up in the Royal academy of Eeklo. It was there that he discovered his predilection for bronze. It became more and more obvious that bronze would be the only medium for Dirk to give expression to his inner most thoughts and artwork. Fascinated by great sculptors like George Minne, Constantin Meunier and Auguste Rodin, he reinvented and explored the possibilities of the by then almost lost art of the "lost wax" method. In contrast to his influences, Dirk leaves the classical form-idiom and manages to develop his very own language in sculpting. This is the reason why it's impossible to place his art under certain trends or movements.
The most important source of inspiration for Dirk De Keyzer is no less than life itself. He molds the world into an alternative, parallel universe in which all problems, be they big or small, are compensated for. In doing so, he cunningly avoids the traps of becoming childish or naive, while border-crossing, positivism and out of the box thinking are the key-words. This particularly shows in the fact that his figures could belong to all cultures, or none at all. They seem to give a complete new meaning to the term "universal man", putting the emphasis on the individual and diversity by exceeding physical characteristics, cultural differences and temporary developments.
Humor is an other important aspect in De Keyzer's art. He strongly believes that humor, rather than negativity, is a mightier tool in the battle against the downsides of our modern society. A disarming smile, stimulating tolerance and the capacity to relativate. In these busy times, De Keyzer's sculptures make their spectator think about his or her unbearable lightness of being. A moment of self-reflection, calling for a small evasion of everyday life.
They're snapshots of the artist's alternative world and invite the amused viewer to enter that world. Whilst creating, Dirk experiences a kind of therapeutic effect and tries to project this onto his spectators. Notwithstanding the use of his very own, unique language, De Keyzer manages to give shape to recognizable, universal issues such as achieving happiness, beauty and harmony in an inimitable but accessible style. In this way, the artist tries to start a conversation with the observer, in which -just as in real life- the focus is not always on the goals, but rather on how to achieve them.