Clay Ketter | Q&A
Cecilia Hillström Gallery, Stockholm

Opening Thursday 25 August 17–20
Friday 26 August – Saturday 1 October

booth: KANT
CODE Art Fair Copenhagen

26–28 August 2016

booth: Cecilia Hillström viennacontemporary
22–25 September 2016

Norrköpings Konstmuseum

24 September 2016 –
26 March 2017

Cecilia Hillström Gallery is pleased to present Clay Ketter's second exhibition at the gallery, titled Q&A. 

With the exhibition Q&A, Ketter continues to challenge the common consensus that a contemporary artist's oeuvre must necessarily illustrate an immediately discernable conceptual or aesthetic continuity. While the daily workings of the atelier may nevertheless seem to reach some semblance of this continuity, it is important to understand that this is not the result of some conscious persuit, but rather the product of relaxation in the face of the aforementioned consensus.

Ketter's atelier and music studio occupy a large landmark schoolhouse in Uppåkra, between Malmö and Lund. The solace that his vocation entails leaves little time or space for the social, and the purportedly remote location of his workplace ensures this solace. Otherwise jovial in his nature, he has nevertheless long-since accepted this occupational side-effect. That being said, he does enjoy the great fortune of working closely with his long-time technical assistant and good friend Sy Willmer, as well as a cast of excellent industrial vendors, and a constant flow of truly entertaining musical characters. The "Art World", however, remains elusive.

Ketter has never been comfortable with creating within–or for–the white void. For Ketter, art is not something in and of itself, but rather something in and about anything, anywhere. His works, not unlike his children, are not "hothouse flowers". They are elements, components, and their import is relative to the role they play in the greater whole. They do not inherit their merit, because merit cannot be inherited. (The notion of the converse, that merit can indeed be inherited, is the root of so much corruption, in art as well as life).
This conviction of his is apparent when one does sieze the oppotunity to visit Ketter's atelier. The walls are often hung, from ceiling to floor, wall to wall, with works both old and new, finished and unfinished. In this way, Ketter challenges himself and his work, before challenging the viewer, and that challenge is to take into account, and ultimately to embrace, the whole.

After a long string of conceptually and esthetically "tight" solo exhibitions and group shows, Ketter hangs a jam-packed room of disparate works in an attempt to mimic the sensation one might enjoy during a recent atelier visit. Crassly, one might say that he has emptied his atelier into the gallery, although the lack of finess or fine-tuning that this implies would be uncharacteristic. The exhibition consists of works made over the past ten years, most of them finished recently. Many of them are what Ketter would call "demons"– works that haunt.
They persist, and insist on being worked. Ultimately, they determine,their own outcome. The key here is Ketter's reception of their insistence.

And so, a list of boring titles ensues: "Abstraction: 2006-2016", "Open Studio" ("If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain."), etc. Or why not "Q&A", based on the fantasy of a captive audience, and furthermore, the fantasy that this audience is curious enough to ask questions at all. Ultimately, it is the role of the artworks to ask the questions, instead of giving answers. Searching for answers in art is a symtom of laziness. One is afraid that, after the Swedish summer, this may be the case.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.