Anton Karstel is a South African painter who was born in 1968. His work has featured in numerous exhibitions at key galleries and museums. Anton Karstel's work has been offered at auction multiple times, with realized prices ranging from $267 USD to $5,586 USD, depending on the size and medium of the artwork. The current record price for this artist at auction is $5,586 USD for "STREET SCENE", sold at Stephan Welz & Co., Cape Town in 2019.
Karstel deals with serious political and social issues from the vantage point of an angst-ridden white South African male, who has lived through both the pre- and post-Apartheid eras. The artist grapples with the issues from the past that burden his generation, but simultaneously identifies warning signs and trends which are emerging today and threaten a repeat of the history which he desperately wishes to put to rest.
The Faith and Beauty series reinterprets images from a black and white Nazi propaganda film which has been reappearing on the internet in recent times, promoted and followed by a young European generation disillusioned by their economic fate and embracing the perilous allure of the extreme right-wing. This series also recalls Karstel’s earlier ‘Liggaamsoefeninge’ (physical excercise) paintings. The images taken from the Nationalist government’s physical education manuals from the 1960s indirectly promoted the idea of a physically superior race. Some of the new paintings are painted and presented on a monumental scale, encircling and captivating the viewer within the shadowy world of serene, athletic and sexually charged female gymnasts.
Karstel has the following to say about his artistic practice: “I paint politically loaded subjects in an attempt to jolt the inert body of the medium. The content in my source images puts strain on the aesthetic form. I'm interested in the ethics of representation, but without moral certainty. Ethical perplexity embroils and incriminates, which helps to narrow the distance of disinterested aesthetic pleasure.”
He lives and works in Betty's Bay. Click here to read an article on Anton Karstel by Chad Roussouw.
Untitled (Glaube und SchÖnheid /Faith and Beauty). 2013. Oil on canvas. 55cm x 37cm.