Anton Karstel was born in Pretoria in 1968.
Karstel is a poignant voice in the South African fine art landscape. His unique style, and the manner in which he portrays historical events showcases his profound insight and the mastery of his art.
His works, imbued with subtle colour and purposefully placed marks, move the viewer on a threefold level – they are aesthetically lingering, emotively resounding and intellectually stimulating. His style has the effect of a certain ‘hinting towards’ – the multiple layers of his works (whether they be his paintings, installations or photography) invite the viewer to immerse themselves in what it is that they are seeing. As a result, the viewer challenges their understanding of what it is that they are seeing. Small details evoke desire, respect and interest – his works are objects of beauty and are truly awe-inspiring. But the movement of the works is captured in the vibration of the subject matter. Karstel reminds us that everything that we see or seem is underpinned by history. We can only exist in a space because we have acknowledged the process of becoming the being. He acknowledges the moments that define us, the history that shapes us and the emotional (and visual) resonance of the relationship between the two.
This relationship is a truly enticing brutal romanticism. The contemporary value of his work is finely balanced by the critical understanding thereof. Art is a mirror, and Karstel is the finely polished glass that shows us the innermost parts of ourselves without judgement. He leaves that to the viewer. His place in the creation of a socially shared memory is truly invaluable.
Karstel’s style is classically rooted in the intense atmospheres of historical masterpieces, but has a fresh current of relevance today. From his portraits to his abstract works, the viewer is invited to get lost in an eternal moment that shifts in interpretation as we embrace our subjective understanding of reality.
Anton Karstel currently works and resides in Cape Town, South Africa.
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