Imagine a world of interiors, an open-ended one. You are invited to open the door that leads to it. Forget everything that you have been taught on art. Please abstain from a priori reasoning such as: “This reminds me of…” Please be seated, you just entered in David Kessel’s universe.

From this moment on his paintings will guide you. They will not take you on intellectual pathways for they are of no interest to him on canvass. They will not resort to pathos either for David is way too modest for this type of exhibitionism. Led by the hand, it’s all good. He will ask for a few minutes of your time perhaps some hours or maybe an everlasting loyalty, you decide.

He paints and speaks through his art frankly. Secrets are in the eye of the beholder. Ways of seeing abound: from the bird to the hand, from the door to the mirror, from the staircase to the stars…symbolism is overwhelming. We also find keys, windows, cigars, women with rounded shoulders and baggy petticoats, all that is dearest to Freud, but with David Kessel, they are sometimes just keys, cigars and women…

Eventually, we lose our sense of direction, in a pleasant sort of way because, aside from rare situations, there are no anxiety in his paintings. And furthermore, due to David Kessel’s exquisite politeness, anxiety is dressed in robes of poetry or metaphors. Here it is: life is a party! Each time parcel, each moment of existence are so valuable that the painter sets them in stained glass window like display guided by an imaginary plumb line.

He isolates subjects to better orchestrate them on canvass. This thick outline delimiting the subject is in fact an aura sending out wave-like vibrations to another subject on the same painting. For example, let’s look at that bird, it most certainly has a partner in adventure close by. Over there, the triangular shape on this woman’s hat, on the terrace of an old Paris bistrot, is likely to reflect in a glass, on a brooch, on her shoe. David Kessel plays with relationships, lines and additive colors, or illusory additives. Like so he creates a slight dissonance, an imperceptible noise, a voluntary harmonics approximation, like a silent disequilibrium leading to the safest of vertigo.  That’s what makes him such a real human being and appealing artist. See these characters with colored eyes and distinctive forms who personify this offset, or the height difference between two subjects supposed to be on the same plane? “Chez le barbier” (at the barber’s) offers one of the most significant example: the barber and his customer on one side and their reflections in the mirror on the other are in all logic the same subjects but, a few moments have passed between the image and its reflection. Small details tell us that time has passed (how much?), hands have closed the magazine, heads have turned aside, objects have moved… David Kessel’s personas or subjects show their own time ellipses, brushings, chance encounters, all characteristic of mankind in its quest for unattainable perfection. David Kessel is also against absolute truths. He is for indulgence, surprise, a breeze of fresh air, serendipitous encounters, constant astonishment. In other words: life.

Surprised to be alive, he never lost the innocence of wise men. Like any self-proclaimed kid, he likes to play. The sacred and profane arts are mixed in soft and noble play that is never shocking. There is nothing easier for an artist than to provoke and most of them fall for it in the name of selfish freedom of creativity, for the politics of freedom of criticism, for the conformist liberty of thinking of oneself as marginal… David Kessel makes none of these claims. He only plays with the lightheartedness of someone paying tribute to his creator and the present moment. For David, details of a hat or a woman’s breast become as mystical as a fragment of the Temple!

Surprised to be alive, as I said of him. His past has tried many times over to prevent him from being born; never to be, never to last. Each precious morning is a celebration, a birth and simultaneously, its awareness. When someone loves life like he does it is because he has learned to grow with shadows. Holding hands with our ghosts and talking to them, is already an act of taming, thwarting them, make them familiar. If I take pleasure in saying that David Kessel is a straightforward painter it is because his dark side is not covered up. The questioning that he uses at will makes his unambiguous side surface by contrast. Innocence but not ignorance, joy without compromise. Often he inserts vignettes---typical zoomed moments in the painting’s overall composition, that attract our attention and guides our glance to an overlooked facet, a darker sky, a troubling street corner, magnified objects. A new interpretation of the painting is then made possible. The inspiration is varied and multiplied.

Also a painter of objects and hence almost a sculptor, he dares painting real size totems, decorated mirrors, screens, cigar humidors, crockery all media capable of being experienced in three dimensions. The same holds true for frescos he paints on walls adapted to their surroundings. Risk taking is a game.

As a matter of fact, the recent series entitled “Intérieurs” shows man struggling as a risk to oneself. We notice a darker period in the life of the artist, I find a lot of humour also, this particular polite humour that says nothing is really bad but only dramatic… From one theme to the next, a media and so forth, David Kessel explores his life that is nothing but an extension of our own. That’s why we follow him with such drive. His uncertainties are our own and his astonishments are also ours. The improbable encounters between colors and forms, the importance of wildlife embodying transpositions of human kind or of our original purity, the objects that under the impulse of animated brush strokes become subjects, are ourselves.  Transcendence? Yes. It resides above the perceptible, in the zone of the sensitive and the non-verbal. With David we are alive, and all differences in appearance vanish for the collective good. The generous finality of being is a well understood given, it anchors itself on living forms and the feel good of being alive: living every second like it were the last and dreaming…

David Kessel is an invitation to live.