Modern Painters: An Interview with Eberhard Havekost

The exhibition “U Say Love” at Contemporary Fine Art in Berlin features new works by Eberhard Havekost, one of Germany’s most esteemed living painters. Born in Dresden in 1967, Havekost creates works that are remarkable for their diversity, deftly moving between styles and registers, sometimes across the geography of a single painting. Such responsive canvases are in part an outgrowth of the instabilities Havekost finds in apparently straight forward images: light, scale and perspective are intrinsically unsettled quantities, and his canvases reflect, sometimes literally, this flux. He frequently uses photographic images as source material; altering, cropping and otherwise complicating their ostensible “realism.” The current exhibition presents a mix of representational and abstract works that exemplify the liminal tension Havekost describes in his use of the term “reproductive” painting, a means of complicating strict binaries in the understanding of painterly technique and of creating new possibilities for interpretation. We met in the gallery’s library to discuss the show and aspects of his philosophy of painting.