Karel Dicker (Schimmert, 1989) grew up in an artist family – in South Limburg and has been painting all his life. Although he was a difficult and headstrong student, he graduated from Sint Lucas in Boxtel and the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht. Dickers’ art shows the presence of a self that is in the world. As disobedient and headstrong as he, himself.

Karel Dicker mostly paints still lifes. Expressionist scenes of abandoned tables with drinks, smokes and drugs exude a longing for the Burgundian tables in the cafés of the fin de siècle. Vases, mirrors, wine glasses, cigarettes and ashtrays often recur in his work. Everyday items we cannot imagine living without. Conversely, without using them, these “tools” would degenerate into meaningless materials. Obsessively observed and filled with colour, lonely packs of cigarette butts with swarthy warnings and already half-empty bottles take on the deeper meaning of what is not shown in Dickers’ work.

“I like to think that my paintings capture a moment that is still going on. Beyond the edges of the painting, beyond the frame, the people drinking from those glasses and sucking smoke from those cigarettes are alive. Like a magnifying glass, the painting zooms in on a special part of an everyday situation.”

Our existence is woven with stories and beliefs. A good dinner is only complete when it is served on porcelain plates, eaten with fine cutlery. A candle should burn. Tulips belong in a vase. They are not necessarily necessary, but those accessories tell a story, just like the couple sitting at that table.

What I like to paint is the story being told at the table and the dance between objects, the world and the people using them. The objects move within the painting, to a rhythm engrained by the different layers of paint, by the colours and lines that, from the first to the last, are woven on top of each other.”