Mike MacKeldey’s paintings are populated with mysterious, fanciful characters. We see a head without a mandible but with a huge mouth and an open row of teeth, as well as a human head on an animal body, and women with beards. A noble lady from the golden age of Dutch painting is mutated into an Indian squaw, another head sports a cubist multiple projection, Mr. Hagestolz’s right eye is a left one in its pictorial source. A scratched or painted „beard“ might also be saliva or a huge flesh wound. All of this is as bizarre as it is disconcerting, as comical as threatening; there is something dark and mysterious about this bright, colourful world.

As a rule, the paintings are set up in four steps. The basis is a naturalistically painted head, be it the portrait of an old master or the face of a magazine belle. Then this unambiguous image is being blurred and made unclear and – third step – complemented with the artist’s own associations and innovations: generally gestural, sketchy scribbles that evoke expressive painting or children’s drawings. Finally, in a fourth step, the artist adds words or sentences which are, however, often twisted in a child-like way, seemingly senseless and stubbornly puzzling.

Picasso taught us that a simple scribble or a cubist „deformation“ might depict reality as accurately as a naturalistic representation, they are just different languages (or sign systems). And Cézanne coined the phrase of art being a harmony „parallel to nature“. This is the tradition Mike MacKeldey follows. He plays with the multiple possibilities of pictorial representation and addresses our desire for clarity: by combining his sketch-like markings with a naturalistic depiction, he gives those marks a special, outstanding meaning. Thus he creates an irritation and evokes a bizarre, enigmatic, even distressing impression. Humour and horror come close together.

Mike MacKeldey is a self-educated artist. The Frankfurt Städelschule did not accept him, a native of that city, as a student. So he created his very own art – and perhaps also his own biography, for instance when he signed the painting Oquasifar with „MacKeldey 1713“…

With his partner Ellen DeElaine Mike MacKeldey also creates cooperative works. In their painting COMA the writing hovers as a huge object over a pastoral landscape – and yet, the letters are nothing but paint on the canvas.

For further information on the artist please go to: Mike MacKeldey
For Mike’s collaborative exhibition “Bääääng!!!” with Ellen DeElaine please see: Kunstverein Pforzheim


1973 born in Frankfurt

solo exhibitions (selection)

2016 Bääääng!!!, Kunstverein Pforzheim
2015 La manie d’abruti, Galerie Da End, Paris
Jesus Box, Galerie Klose, Essen Germany
Die Chenkingliu Show, Galerie Supper, Baden Baden Germany
2013 Ich werf die Baggermatsch in’s Gesicht, Evelyn Drewes Galerie, Hamburg
2012 Wer hat Zwerg: Rasa’s Hazenfuss versteckt?, Galerie PopartPirat, Berlin
Das Mädchen auf den Hund gekommen. Der Idiot auf die Libelle, Galerie Klose, Essen
Schweissshund, Galerie PopArtPirat, Hamburg
2011 In Saus & Braus|Ausspucken|Taschen leeren, Galerie Apollo9, Hamburg
Fräulein Mimese irrt sich an der Tür, Galerie Supper, Karlsruhe
Der Käfer Knilch: Rasa, Stephane Simoens Contemporary Fine Art, Knokke, Belgium
2010 Cassandra’s Leben & andere Rüpel-Geschichten, Heyne Kunstfabrik, Offenbach
Taking a lesson from the past, Galerie Klose, Essen
Cassandra’s erstes Leben beginnt vorläufig in 5 Minuten, Galerie Son, Berlin
2008 Lunchpaket, Galerie Studio 01, Wiesbaden
2006 Die unerwartete Begegnung mit Shenzhouraptor, Galerie Wildwechsel, Frankfurt

group shows (selection)

2016 Love, Galerie Da-End, Paris
2015 Schlaraffenland, Hilbert Raum, Berlin
Under Realism, Galerie Da-End, Paris
Ramos del Rondeaux, Galerie Polaris, Paris
Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris
Nachts allein im Atelier, Evelyn Drewes|Galerie, Hamburg
Sightzeichen, Galerie Klose, Essen
2014 Der Hase im Laufhaus, Evelyn Drewes Galerie, Hamburg
Cabinet Da End 04, Galerie Da End, Paris
Der Hahn ist die Uhr, Galerie Kaiser&Cream, Wiesbaden
Face to face, Galerie Anette Müller, Düsseldorf
2013 Stephane Simoens Contemporary Fine art Knokke, Belgium
Bildstörungen (with Arnulf Rainer and Markus Lüpertz), Galerie Supper, Baden Baden
Bildstörung (with Arnulf Rainer and Markus Lüpertz), Galerie Klose, Essen
2011 Rundgang Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Düsseldorf
Junge Kunst, Museum K20, Düsseldorf
Stephane Simoens Contemporary Fine Art, Knokke, Belgium
PageArt, Galerie Kunstraum, Frankfurt
Villa de Bank, Enschede, Netherlands
German Art, gallery space, Jeonbuk, Korea
2010 Kunstsammlung Kypta, Offenbach